Legislative Council Thursday 14 June, 2018
Ms FORREST (Murchison) - Mr President, I will not make a long contribution because much has already been said. I particularly reflect on and remember Greg as the parliamentarian and the role he undertook in this place, connected with his work and his role in the community. He was a well-respected member of parliament and local government, who was elected more than once. He had the support of the people of his electorate for many years, in local government as well as the state parliament.
He was well connected within the community, being a large rural community. Being a farmer himself he had great connections in that community and engaged with the community on a very personal level, understanding their needs. This is also the case in running a small business, when he had the raspberry business. He understood some of the challenges, the seasonality and the climate issues that can affect primary producers and the challenges those things brought. That gave him insight into those sorts of matters when they were raised in the parliament. He brought that agricultural background and knowledge and used it in this place, particularly at times such as budget Estimates, when we were looking at Primary Industries and Water, which he had a great interest and passion in as well.
He also was a great advocate for our House, particularly in his work at Agfest. Sometimes we did not manage to secure a site but when we did, which was a few years in a row -
Ms Rattray - We did, for a long time.
Ms FORREST - That is right, yes. He did all the work - he, Dawn and Kath - did all the work setting up the marquee, ensuring the roster was covered all the time. That was an important aspect of raising the profile of the Legislative Council in the rural community, although many townies go to Agfest, too. We call them townies because that is what they are. Some of them do not know much about the rural community. Some of them were not there to learn much either; they were there to buy things. It was an important thing to do.
The political parties had their representation, in the lower House predominantly, but it was important for the Legislative Council to have a presence. That was well supported by the independent members. Unless a member was away - I missed it one year when I was on the Frank MacDonald trip - we all took our turn and turned up on some of those freezing cold May mornings at Agfest when the ground was frozen solid. I thank Greg for his work on that as well as his wife, Kath, and his EA, Dawn, who put in an enormous effort. That was about promoting this place and the work we do. I am sure Greg will continue to contribute to his broader community in whatever he does.
He took on many leadership roles and he undertook a lot of committee work. I worked on many of those committees with him. He always took a dedicated approach.
He saw many changes in his time here. Another member mentioned the introduction of the cameras. They were not here when I came in, and it was the same for him. I do not believe it has changed the way we go about our business much at all, but it is interesting it gives the general public much more opportunity to see what we are doing. Some people watch quite a bit of it, which is surprising in many respects. I receive emails and messages saying something about the debate. They have been watching.
He also saw the number of women in parliament increase significantly. He missed the latest 50 per cent achievement for our parliament, but he saw much of that change and growth during his time.
The member for Rosevears has talked about some of the more challenging legislation he dealt with. We are all challenged by different legislation. It lives long with you, but you make your contribution. You represent your community as best you can, acknowledging there will not be unanimous agreement about your actions. I am sure Greg had to face that not everyone in his electorate agreed with his decisions. That is a situation we deal with in any decision where there is not unanimous agreement.
Greg was always a jovial person and very friendly. Many people have talked about his practical joking, but I want to remember him for the work he did as a parliamentarian. I also recognise and respect the life experience he brought to this place as a Vietnam veteran. That does impact on people's lives. Active service has to impact on a person's life, particularly if they were in Vietnam. While he did not talk about it much, he raised it at various times because it was something that had an impact on his life. I recognise and respect that.
Another memory is the camaraderie and the Thursday evening meals some of us would go out on if we were not driving home that night. The member for Rosevears was the host of many of our meals and that was lovely. The last meal we had together like that was with Vanessa Goodwin, not long before she was diagnosed. Greg was at that dinner, too.
Other members have talked about his avid interest in cycling and keeping fit. I remember him turning up in his cycling gear on one occasion I was in Wynyard. I looked at him and thought, 'That is a really weird outfit to wear if you are coming to Wynyard.' He had ridden from Dunorlan. I thought, and still do, that I would not be up for that. That was, perhaps, four or five years ago and that is a long ride. All power to him for doing it and maintaining that fitness. I wish him well in his retirement.
Many members have mentioned the nicknames. Mine was Jane, my middle name, lacking in imagination as with Lois, but he was always the master of spoonerisms and he often used spoonerisms in his speeches. I am sure Hansard sorted it out because they are very good and would have done that. I am sure Majella did when she could not cope anymore. It was a part of Greg. I am sure it was deliberate but at other times it happened naturally.
He was a joker and a character but he also made a significant contribution in some of the leadership roles he took on in this parliament and on committees. I wish him well, and his wife, who has to now put up with him more than we do.