Hon. John Hamilton Simpson


Mr BARBER (Northern Metropolitan) — As has been noted, and as is known by all, Mr Simpson represented the true Labor values of a bygone era. Like the Labor Party itself, he walked a path from shearing shed to power in the Parliament and ultimately in executive government itself. While his parliamentary career of the mid-70s to mid-80s might seem like part of a bygone era in our short memories, the fact is that the issues he was talking about at the time are still absolutely pertinent.

In his first speech he talked about the problems visited upon his electorate by the noise and disruption of Essendon Airport. He talked about the problem with the quarries in the area. Back then it was dust; today it is more to do with what has been put into those quarries and what might be coming out through the water. He also addressed in particular public transport. He said:

What I want to make my main thrust is public transport in the western suburbs or, perhaps more to the point, the lack of it. The Labor Party has argued for many years about the division of the metropolis of Melbourne into 'transport rich' areas and 'transport poor' areas. I do not intend to be flamboyant or to use excessive language when I suggest that the electorate of Niddrie and the city of Keilor are in fact a 'transport slum'.

While we can celebrate Mr Simpson as a true example of the politics of a bygone era, the fact is that he could walk back into Parliament today and pick up where he left off and be just as relevant to the issues of the day as he was then. The Greens would like to associate ourselves with the motion and send our condolences to his loved ones, friends and colleagues.