Condolence Motion: Hon. G.F. Keneally

17 Sep 2020

The Hon. D.C. VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN (Stuart—Minister for Energy and Mining) (14:08): It is a pleasure to rise to support this motion; it is obviously not a pleasure that a former member for Stuart has passed away, and a very popular former member for Stuart. I certainly did not ever know the Hon. Gavin Keneally as a member of parliament—he was elected 40 years before I was elected and retired 20 years before I was elected—but I did know him as a person around Port Augusta.

I can assure people that as a local, as I am, many of the things that have been said are very true. He was a very genuine, down-to-earth, straightforward, local Port Augusta person, with no airs and graces but not scared of anything either. He was just his own man and he was a pleasure to engage with. I would have met Gavin perhaps five or six times, so I am not suggesting that we were close friends, but I certainly remember the first time we ever met each other when I was an inexperienced candidate going to my very first election. Gavin was a very strong local Port Augusta Labor man long after his retirement from parliament, but he was also a very, very good Port Augusta man.

He treated me in a very friendly manner. He treated me with great respect. It did not have to be even joked about whether or not he was going to vote for me. That was not going to happen, and he was going to encourage as many people as he could to vote against me, but within that reality we lived he was warm and he was genuine. He even gave me a bit of advice about what a new candidate ought to be trying to do and how to go about their business.

Judith was equally courteous and polite, but she did have—and I am sure she will not mind me saying this—that slightly steely reservation (which we would all appreciate our partners often have) when coming across somebody who was one way or another potentially on the other team to their own partner. She was very friendly, no doubt about it, but she made it clear that I was on the other team, perhaps in a slightly more direct way than Gavin actually did, but perhaps for him it just did not need to be said.

He was a very good sportsman. In fact, I was at the Centrals footy club two weekends ago, which was his home in Port Augusta, and he is still a revered person there. He led a combined country team at a state level as well. Up until, I think, about eight or so years ago he was still playing competitive tennis. I only came to know this because I bumped into him and another local Stuart person who I happened to know then whose political views were completely contrary to Gavin's. They were good friends. They played tennis together—with each other and against each other—for many years, and at that stage they were still playing. He enjoyed his sport and enjoyed, perhaps more importantly, sportsmanship well into his later years.

I add my voice to this motion. I add my appreciation to Gavin as one of my predecessors as a member for Stuart, and there have been a few. I thank him posthumously for his very decent treatment of me as a Liberal candidate and as a Liberal member of parliament and for his friendship as it was whenever we bumped into each other, and I certainly wish Judith, their five children, the grandchildren and the rest of his family and friends all the very, very best.