Constituency Statements: Melbourne Ports Electorate: Caulfield Village

It is with sadness that I rise today to speak about my friend, former colleague and long-time Bonner constituent, the Hon. David Jull. Although his passing did not come as a surprise to me after such a long and brave battle with cancer, it is nonetheless a very sad time for many on both sides of this House and of course for his loved ones and friends.

I cannot do justice in five minutes to his decades of tireless work for the community and his distinguished and colourful history in this House, but I would, nonetheless, like to pay tribute to this larger-than-life Queenslander and outstanding Liberal. I first met David when he was the member for Bowman in 1975 and I was a year 4 student at Villanova College, which was a school in his electorate. Even though I was a young student, I can still vividly recall his booming voice and his irrepressible life force. I do not remember what he said but these impressions stayed with me until I met him again 26 years later in 2001 when I was running for the federal seat of Griffith.

David proved to be an excellent source of experience and local knowledge. He was a great support and a damned good bloke with whom I could have a laugh. I was also honoured to serve with him during my first term as the member for Bonner in the 41st Parliament between 2004 and 2007. My colleague, the Hon. Chris Pyne, was right on the mark when he described David as having a ‘terrific’ personality. But he was also so much more than that. He had a tremendous capacity to truly care for those he represented over his 32 years as a federal member in this House.

My electorate of Bonner took in parts of David’s old electorate and his connection with this community still resonates very strongly today. This has been evidenced by the number of Bonner constituents who have rung me in the last week wanting to pay their respects to David. They remembered him for the genuine care and love he frequently exhibited to our local community. Mostly, they have remembered that he forged real connections with people that far outlasted his parliamentary career. He always remembered names and details. He was a great politician. Last week, I received a call from the Hon. Gary Hardgrave, a former member of this House, who, like me, met David at his school, in 1974 when he was a year 9 student at MacGregor State High School. He remembers David as always being full of encouragement for young people such as himself and he even arranged work experience at Channel 0-the television station where he had previously been a director before he entered politics. Gary reminisced that, although he was only 15 at the time, he worked all day at the Carina booth on the day that David won Bowman in December 1975.

The victory party was the best thing he had ever seen, until his own victory party in 1996. Most of all, Gary remembers the campaign T-shirts in the 1970s worn by the bikini-clad girls with the words ‘Liberal lover’ splashed across the front. In Bonner, we will always remember him most as a fighter. He fought for the Liberal Party, he fought for his community and, in the end, he courageously fought against cancer. David was first and foremost a gentleman, one of the honourable breeds of MPs who have graced Australia’s history. His commitment to our nation-but especially to those who knew him-leaves a profound legacy. My sympathy and prayers are with his family and those close to him as he will be greatly missed.

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