Vale: The Faultless Member for Hume: Alby Schultz

STT regrets to inform the world of the passing of the Faultless Former Member for Hume, Alby Schultz. What we wrote about him two years ago gives some idea of the courage and nobility of a Great Australian. His Country will miss him.

This post was originally posted on 26 June 2013

STT readers – please take time and enjoy the Valedictory Speech delivered yesterday by STT’s Champion of Champions – Alby Schultz.

Alby served his great State of NSW and the Country with grace and honour for over 25 years – and – true to form – gives the wind industry one last burst on the way out of the Big House on the Hill.

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Alby Schultz farewells the Big House on the Hill.

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But read on and learn a whole lot more about a truly remarkable man – in what is a truly remarkable Country – made so – in no small part – by the efforts of people like Alby.

Alby has all those qualities that make up decent, civil society – compassion, courage and empathy.  Qualities which he clearly displayed in his efforts to bring the great wind power fraud to an end.

While STT and Country people will sorely miss Alby’s brand of tell-it-like-it-is politics – he goes on to give an insight into the background and character of his successor in title – Angus Taylor.

As STT has already pointed out – Angus is ready, willing and able to put some sense back into energy policy and make it work again FOR all Australians – rather than AGAINST us – as now.  Alby – we are confident that Angus will do you proud on all scores.

Alby – for going in hard on the wind power fraud – for your tireless efforts to look after the people in society least able to look after themselves – for doing all in your power to see the interests of Country people were never forgotten – STT salutes you!

alby schultz

A Great Australian.

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Mr SCHULTZ (Hume) (18:02): Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. This valedictory speech that I am going to read to you tonight is the second valedictory speech I have written over the past six or eight weeks. I wrote one, and my wife read it and she said to me, ‘You’re not seriously going to bring that into the chamber, are you?’ She said, ‘You really do have to write something a little bit softer than that, love.’ So I have succumbed to that wise counsel from my wife, as I have done for many of the 51 years that we have been married, and I have written something a little bit different to what I would normally put pen to.

I am very pleased to see my family, my staff and my friends in the gallery in front of me, because they were originally up here, and they should know me well enough to know that I do not really like turning to the left to the extent that I would have had to tonight! I rise tonight in this House to bid my final farewell to colleagues, staff and friends. To say the past 15 years in this place has been a magnificent experience is an understatement, and I take this opportunity to express my appreciation to the constituents of Hume, who at five elections have placed their trust in me to represent them and their concerns in the Australian parliament. I will be forever grateful to them for their trust, support and, I must say, at times justifiable tolerance.

I would not be here, of course, without the wisdom and encouragement of the Hon. Wal Fife, a former distinguished rural Liberal member of his place, and his delightful wife, Marcia, who at the suggestion of my wonderful wife, Glo, were instrumental in convincing me to enter politics 25 years ago.

I entered politics as a candidate for the Liberal Party in the state seat of Burrinjuck, which was held by father and son Terry and Billy Sheahan for 47 years – two wonderful individuals, two very good local members.

I contested that seat in 1988 in a three-cornered contest with the National Party. I have to say to you that Terry Sheahan knew my family background. He knew that my grandfather was a great friend of Prime Minister Chifley. He came to me and said, ‘Alby, you are a conservative? Why are you running as a Liberal candidate?’ I said, ‘Terry, with due respect, I am also a worker, and I wanted to work and I kept getting sent home on strikes, so that turned me off Labor politics forever.’

We went into that campaign with that man saying to me, ‘How do you want it play it, Alby? Do you want to play it straight down the line or do you want to play it rough and tumble?’ I said, ‘I will play it any way you want to play it, Terry.’ He said, ‘Why don’t we play it straight down the line?’ To his credit and to the credit of the calibre of the man, that is exactly what he did, and I acknowledged that in my first speech in the New South Wales parliament. He and I remain friends to this day.

I think that is an indication of what Patrick was just talking about in relation to the misconception out in the community that, whilst the circus goes on here during the day, we are mortal enemies outside of this chamber.

We are not, and I have some very good friends on the other side of the chamber.

The friendship is unique in many instances. I was a member of the Standing Committee on Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, which my friend Dick Adams was also a member of. It was chaired by the former member for Forde, Kay Elson, then a member of this place – a wonderful woman – who I think left with Jo Gash’s group. She decided to retire from politics, I think, leading up to the 2004 election. After the election, in the new, incoming government, the committee was left without a chair. Wilson Tuckey and I were sitting in Wilson Tuckey’s room up on the second floor and a bloke came in and said, ‘Wilson and Alby, good to see you here – you are both members of the agriculture, fisheries and forestry committee, aren’t you?’ and we said, ‘Yes, we are.’ He said, ‘It’s not official yet, but I have been appointed the new chair,’ and I said, ‘Oh, have you?’ He said, ‘I’ve got a problem,’ and I said, ‘What’s the problem?’ He said, ‘I don’t know anything about bloody agriculture.’ I looked at Wilson and Wilson looked at me, and he said, ‘I’ll need your assistance.’ I just looked at him and said, ‘I’m sorry, mate, I can’t give somebody that does not know anything about agriculture assistance to be the chair of a very important standing committee like that.’ He moved out of the office in a huff.

Wilson said, ‘You’ve got to do something about this,’ so I rang my old mate Martin Ferguson and I said: ‘Listen, Martin, I need some assistance here. I need your support to get the numbers for a vote.’ What normally happens in those committees, as you know, is that there is no vote; the Prime Minister of the day appoints the chair and the secretariat that looks after the committee comes in and says, ‘We’ve got a letter from the minister and Joe Blow is the chair.’

An honourable member: It’s not how it works over here, Alby!

Mr SCHULTZ: But in this case that actually happened. I said, ‘Well, you’ve got another nomination,’ and the secretary said, ‘Who?’ and I said, ‘Me.’ To cut a long story short, the vote went to a vote, as it should do in a ballot. I won by one vote with the assistance of the Independent sitting there, my old mate Tony Windsor, and the Labor members of the committee. It created history in this place. If nothing else, I have left a little bit of history that may not ever occur again. It was the first time in the history of the House of Representatives that a member of a standing committee has actually been elected by the standing committee itself. What was disappointing about the outcome of that was that I was treated with silence by this side of the House for about six months. I was told that I had fraternised with the enemy. That is the nonsense that goes on from time to time about the relationships we have with each other in the chamber.

The issue of my entering politics 25 years ago was also the beginning of what has commonly been referred to within the communities that I have represented over the years as ‘The Team’, which Glo and I committed to in my first slogan: ‘You get two the price of one.’ Little did I know that she was a bigger drawcard for my ongoing success at the ballot box than I was. That commitment was to all constituents, regardless of political persuasion, who were in genuine need of assistance from their local member. This approach was enthusiastically embraced by the rank-and-file members of the Liberal Party branches, who not only gave us encouragement but also took the opportunity to express their concerns on matters of personal interest to them, give me valuable advice and stand firm on important issues when I was being difficult. The enormous commitment and courage and the great degree of voluntary work given by members and supporters at polling booths on both sides of the parliament on bitterly cold or wet or hot days over the years is a mammoth personal effort, and I compliment and thank them for that.

It has been a pleasure also to work with those fantastic women Merrell Davies, Ann Lawson and the wonderful Trefoil Guild ladies here in Canberra, who have worked tirelessly over a 10-year period, and as recently as last Christmas with my wife, to purchase, pack and have delivered tonnes of items including clothing, food, cosmetics, school books and toys for many families in the electorate of Hume who were and still are affected by the aftermath of drought. It was a huge emotional and caring commitment over a decade of farmer hardship, continually replicated year in and year out by volunteers and other caring Aussies everywhere.

This same unselfish concern of Australians for their fellow Aussies, regardless of their ethnic or social background surfaced again during the recent floods and bushfires across our nation, when volunteers and emergency services personnel confronted nature’s destructive elements in what can only be described as high-risk life-threatening circumstances. It does not stop there. I have watched with a great sense of anguish and sadness the heart-breaking sight of farmers, emotionally drained, when they have to put down badly burnt animals, bury them and take into their homes the smell of the charred countryside and what they have had to do to their suffering animals.

They are the epitome of the true Australian rural spirit, which is replicated year in and year out across our sometimes harsh, unforgiving landscape. It is something which sadly is forgotten too quickly by people in this place.

Not surprisingly, that is the one constant I have been confronted with in many ways in this and another place in the past 25 years. Marginal seat politics, party-political point scoring, failure to act on serious social issues and irresponsible waste of taxpayers’ resources are both frustrating and morally wrong. As an example, in 2005 I produced a booklet based on three years of hard research about the Child Support Agency and its relentless, unjustifiable anti-male culture, which culminated in the suicide of a number of my young constituents. Confronting the very serious issue of male suicide caused by the gender biased CSA was treated as a politically sensitive no-go area by many politicians, which I embraced as a challenge on behalf of 4,000 families and individuals across the country.

That culture, despite some cosmetic changes, is still endemic in the CSA today. The increase in male suicides are due in no small part to the unrelenting anti-male culture of the CSA. The Lone Fathers Association, led by Barry Williams – the man is a saint – is taking 70,000 calls per annum from depressed males, many of whom are desperately trying to deal with CSA pressure. Were it not for him, the suicide rate would be even higher.

The incoming government would be doing a great service to oppressed payers facing criminal activity, such as entrapment and denial of natural justice – which is the modus operandi of the CSA today – and to the nation as a whole, if it introduced a parliamentary inquiry which would allow people to give evidence of the covering up of male suicides caused by the Child Support Agency. More importantly, it will give those living under threat of legal action by the CSA – if they release any part of taped conversations which prove intimidation, false information, abuse of civil rights and denial of natural justice – an opportunity to expose these issues under parliamentary protection.

I must also take this opportunity to, surprisingly, raise the issue of the fraudulent distribution of renewable energy certificates – commonly referred to as RECs – to a non-compliant Victorian wind farm in breach of Commonwealth legislation, which I have referred to the Australian Federal Police and the Commonwealth Ombudsman. Since then, I have obtained further evidence of two more interstate wind farms also receiving benefits of Commonwealth funds in a similar way. I might add that, since the implementation of the renewable energy target in April 2001, over 195 million renewable energy certificates, at a value of approximately $8.7 billion, have been created by the Clean Energy Regulator. Wind turbines have cost the electricity consumer approximately $2.25 billion from 1 January 2011 to 30 March 2013. That is $1 billion per year – think about what that could be used for in our communities.

What is also disturbing about this release of billions of taxpayers’ money by the Clean Energy Regulator, is that some of it is going to noncompliant wind farms, and the bizarre advice from the shadow energy minister is that the CER – the Clean Energy Regulator – is not in breach of Commonwealth legislation by doing so. We apparently have no accountability measures in place to stop this dreadful rort. Where are the professional investigative journalists on this issue? It really is time to clean this expensive clean energy rort and con job up. All it requires is courage at arms length from wind turbine political influence.

Whilst these two issues are important to me – and to the nation at large – and had to be aired, I must return back to the real world of my valedictory and recognise the people who have continued to give me their loyal support, despite some of them moving on to pursue their own careers. One of the tests of community respect is the ability of staff to convey and deliver professional service to constituents on a variety of issues, and to do it in a way which people spontaneously react positively to. I must say that I have been blessed with caring, loyal, efficient and delightful staff, some of whom have gone on the enter politics themselves. Josh Manuatu – who is in the gallery tonight – who originally came into my Goulburn office on work experience, now works in a senior staff position with Senator Eric Abetz.

Daniel Try, whose talent and general knowledge assisted him in winning a considerable amount of money on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire – which he did not hesitate in sharing with his mum – works for the Hon. Bronwyn Bishop.

I have great pride in Jason Costigan who also worked in my Goulburn office. This talented television and radio sports commentator is now the member for Whitsundays in the Queensland government and a good friend to Glo and I. We wish him every success in the future.

Jai Rowell, the current member for Wollondilly in the New South Wales government, worked for me for some time and was a great team leader for new staff. I have no doubt that with his skill and political ability he will be the member for a long time.

My longest serving staff member is Debbie Schulz who has been there advising, creating the Hume Bulletin, guiding staff, having babies and attempting to keep me in line for the entire period of my federal service.

A huge thankyou to you, Deb, and also to staffers Trish, Richard, Frances and Maree, who are here with me tonight. I regret retiring as my staff now face an uncertain future, but I am confident their considerable people and professional skills will be recognised by future employers. They of course can be assured of my personal support for them.

To the many staff in parliament, may I express my thanks and appreciation for the service you all provide to members in this place. I take this opportunity to especially mention Tim Stephens in the Members and Guests Dining Room. Tim, as we all know, is exceptionally obliging and ready to assist in any way he can. Many thanks to you and your staff, Tim.

Security has an important and demanding role in this place, but always have time for a cheery word and a chuckle. Bernard Wright, Clerk of the House of Representatives, carries out his role with great grace and dignity, as do his most capable staff including all of the fantastic chamber attendance.

To my chamber mate Josh Freudenberg, the member for Kooyong, I thank you for your company, laughs and, dare I say it, wise counsel and infectious friendship. I trust your considerable high intellect and the talents of other equally capable Liberal backbenchers will be recognised in the not too distant future.

God knows the Australian public are looking for a fresh, enthusiastic and different approach, which is needed to fix the current considerable woes of this great country of ours and a new era of business and community savvy ministers who can demonstrate they are indeed capable of delivering with ability, not so-called ‘political experience’. We certainly do not need another round of self-opinionated egomaniacs who started the destruction of our border security and current Commonwealth net debt of some $340 billion.

I thank you, Madam Speaker, from the bottom of my heart for the generous time you gave to my grandchildren – I know the truth hurts! –

Honourable members interjecting –

Mr SCHULTZ: when they visited and for cooperation when we were on the Speakers panel together. You and I are in the same boat as far as that bloke is concerned. Glo and I both thank you for the beautiful arrangement of flowers which greeted us in our home after returning from more medical tests in Sydney.

They are magnificent, and I thank you once again.

Leaving aside the cumbersome poor excuse for minders of the public purse, I have had the good fortune to meet some very interesting and wonderful Australians who have, for different reasons, become very close family friends. This is going to surprise a few people here because my background is a poor working-class background.

Over 20 years ago, two women thousands of kilometres apart met one day because they were each committed to assisting women in remote areas to have access to mobile mammography breast screening units and breast cancer research. This occurred before it became a popular political issue, which politicians have milked for all it is worth. What motivated them was the death of a mother and the deaths of isolated rural women from this insidious disease. That meeting has grown into a close bond of genuine friendship built around kindness, trust and care for fellow female Australians.

One of those two women was Gina Rinehart, a wonderful and successful Australian much maligned by the chattering class, bigoted class-warfare politicians and the bottom end of left-wing journalists ensconced in and beyond the Canberra commentariat.

The second woman was Glo, my beautiful wife, who has never said a bad word or done anything to hurt anybody in her life. I have had the pleasure of observing this bond between these women grow into something rare and special with a great deal of pride and satisfaction.

I take this opportunity to thank Gina for the generous care, concern, love and considerable trouble she went to in visiting me in hospital, for making our 50th wedding anniversary something special and for her personal support for Glo following Glo’s difficult surgery. Your critics have much to learn from you, Gina, in relation to your love for your country and your proven track record of kindness, generosity and loyalty to many, including your inner circle of special friends such as our family. Ginia, your daughter, we have watched grow into a beautiful, capable woman in every respect. She is indeed her mother’s daughter, and she will be of great support to you and an integral part of your business in the future.

I also want to place on record my family’s eternal gratitude to Dr Alan ‘Ace’ Edwards and his lovely wife, Dr Stephanie Edwards, who have used their professional skills and considerable medical knowledge to ensure that I and Glo have received first-class medical procedures and care. They took us into their home, cared for us, embraced our family, made sure we returned home safely and extended that wonderful true Aussie friendship I so often talk about, which is so unique and sometimes taken for granted.

Friendships I enjoy with many people, who are too numerous to mention but to whom I owe enormous gratitude. Thank you in particular to Kathy and Sam McGuiness – Sam is here tonight – and Mike Inkster and Charlie Arnott. It may be of some interest to know that I have good friends on the opposite side of the chamber, as I mentioned before. I take this opportunity to recognise one in particular, the Hon. Simon Crean, who was the first person to contact me when I lost my eye – and I can assure you that it had nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that it was my left eye and not my right eye! He was again on the phone giving me support and encouragement for this latest difficult challenge, and I thank him most sincerely for his genuine concern.

I also place on record my personal thanks to all of my party colleagues, including the Hon. Tony Abbott, who, with his shadow ministers, has assisted me over the years, sometimes despite my strong views on my party’s failure to recognise that I represent an extremely strong block of rural based Liberals – ‘the lost rural legion’ – who play a huge role in agriculture across rural Australia. Thank you to all of the shadows who have visited the Hume electorate to assist and support in many ways my good friend and his wonderful, hardworking wife, Louise. I refer, of course, to that wonderful, once-in-a-lifetime candidate Angus Taylor, who is here with his wife and children tonight. Rest assured he will make his mark on Australian politics.

It goes without saying that I could not have endured the difficult and sometimes challenging periods of my life in politics without the love and support of the love of my life, Glo, who for 51 years has tried to keep me in line, and my two sons, Grant and Dean, who are more like brothers to me and who have been deprived of that close, blokey association which naturally occurs between father and sons, as a result of my commitment to my politics. They, however, have blessed me with two beautiful daughter-in-laws, Dev and Bec, and five beautiful grandchildren – Ethan, Seth, Aliza, Darcie and Maggie – all of whom I love very much, are precious to me and are here today.

I acknowledge and give my heartfelt thanks, love and appreciation to my loyal, enthusiastic and supportive in-laws, Dorothy and Bruce Whitehead, who have driven from Northcote in Victoria to man polling booths for me at every state and federal election since 1988. They are here today as part of my family to listen to my unusually timid exit speech. I once again thank them for just being there during the good and bad times.

It means so much to Glo and myself and my precious family.

I apologise to the House for the delay in actually being here, but I have been confronting another personal challenge which has prevented me from attending.

I would like to express my gratitude to the Chief Opposition Whip, the Hon. Warren Entsch, the Leader of the House, the Hon. Anthony Albanese, and the Hon. Christopher Pyne, Manager of Opposition Business in the House, for their indulgence and patience in working within my medical schedule so I could do this valedictory here today. It means so much to me and I am overwhelmed by their cooperative effort to make it happen and I thank them.

I stand here in this House content in the knowledge I have given my all as a privileged individual who is here because of the generosity of my fellow Australians.

Obviously I have not been without fault, as many of my colleagues can attest to, and I most assuredly have made mistakes from time to time. I regret one particular incident where I shirt-fronted an individual from metropolitan Melbourne because he made a disparaging remark about rural people.

I am, however, proud and honoured to be the longest serving member for the historical federal seat of Hume since Federation, thanks to my fellow rural based Australians. I make a prediction: the person who will follow me will certainly break that record and will certainly bring into the Hume electorate a wealth of knowledge of rural Australia and the mountain country that fringes the electorate of Hume. Why will he do that? Because he comes from a long line of cattle and sheep people. His grandfather on his mother’s side was Sir William Hudson, who built the Snowy Mountains scheme. This bloke is from good stock, ladies and gentlemen, and I can tell you that he is going to be something special in this place. I look forward to it because, if you think this challenge is going to beat me, you have another thing coming. I thank the House.

The SPEAKER: To the faultless member for Hume, congratulations on a magnificent valedictory. To Gloria, thank you for moderating what could have been a more fascinating speech, I am sure. We all want to wish Alby the best with what is to follow after this valedictory and we all have him in our hearts at this time.

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.

Comments

  1. Jim Hutson says:

    Thank you, Alby. You will certainly be a hard act to follow.
    When you leave Politics you will do so in a way that very few Politicians do. You will leave with the respect and admiration of your constituents. I wish you all the best.

  2. Eternal Gratitude says:

    Thank you Alby and Glo, a great Australian Team.

  3. Grant Winberg says:

    Thank you Alby. Why are there not more like you? Australia needs them desperately.

  4. It is sad to see Alby Schultz leaving politics. I think he will go down in history as being one of the few politicians in modern times who did a lot more for his constituents that another ordinary 50 politicians combined.

  5. A wonderful speech. What a great Australian you are Alby. It is a privilege to know you and to appreciate your passionate support for rural people and their unique problems and situation, not only in your electorate but across Australia. Your fearless fight against the madness of the RET, RECs and the malignant spread of industrial wind turbines has encouraged us all and has been an inspiration to watch. Thank you Alby!

Trackbacks

  1. […] all he made his solemn promise to a dying man – Alby Schultz – a solemn promise to implement the legislative amendments needed to get the health research […]

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