On the passing of Mrs Gabrielle Madden, Mr Henry Taylor and Mr Greg Turner
Tonight, I will reflect on the passing of three people who will be long remembered in the electorate of Blair.
Mrs Gabrielle Madden
Gabrielle 'Gaie' Madden was a trailblazing educator who taught thousands of Ipswich children.
Born in 1922, Gaie's teaching career began in a one-teacher school west of Maryborough. She crammed 45 students into a single classroom.
Some years later, she transferred home to teach at St Mary's College in Ipswich.
In 1960, Gaie became the first full-time female teacher appointed by St Edmund's Boys College—then Christian Brothers College.
She would teach at that college for the next 27 years with distinction and compassion.
To students, teachers and parents, she was simply known as 'Mrs M'.
Gaie lived a busy family life.
She married Brian in 1946 and they welcomed five children: Peter, Dennis Brendan, Anne Marie and Jim.
Jim Madden, her son, is the state member for Ipswich West and a very good friend of mine.
Gaie lived her life with great faith and dignity. She was an inspiration to all.
She was a beloved member of the Catholic community of St Mary's Catholic Church in Ipswich.
Gaie passed away peacefully on 18 January this year. St Edmund's College noted that her 'profound legacy as a caring educator of generations of young Ipswich men will endure'. How true.
Mr Henry Taylor
Henry Taylor was the first person I met at Dinmore meatworks when I started working there at my first job as a teenager.
My father, who also worked there, introduced me to Henry and said, 'This is Henry Taylor, the Labor man.'
Henry was that and much, much more.
He was born in Brisbane in 1928 and attended school in Ipswich and left there to start working at the Oxley meatworks.
He met Shirley, his beloved future wife, at a wedding.
Shirley was charmed that day, telling a friend, 'See that man in the hat? I'm going to marry that man,' and she did.
Henry and Shirley were married in 1952 and had three children, David, Ian and Tynee.
Later, Henry took a job at the Dinmore meatworks. He began a social club for workers that still operates today.
He was a supporter and a constant fundraiser for the Ipswich Hospice.
To this day, workers at the Dinmore meatworks donate some of their pay to Ipswich Hospice. Henry started that payroll deduction.
He owned and trained greyhounds and loved a bet at the Raceview TAB.
His best and most successful greyhound was known as Henry's Folly.
It was very successful in Ipswich but could not quite replicate that success at the track outside Ipswich.
Henry played soccer until he was 40 years of age, when his knees gave out.
Without doubt, Henry was a proud Labor man and a very well respected member of the meatworkers' union.
He was awarded life membership of the Australian Labor Party and was a fixture at my local branch, of which I am a member and the president, the Raceview Flinders Branch.
As a booth worker he was without peer. He handed out how-to-vote cards in his porkpie hat.
He looked like something out of Division 4 on polling day.
Everyone loved Henry.
He was a champion of the local community.
Sadly, he passed away on 4 January this year. Vale Henry.
Mr Greg Turner
Greg Turner was another member of my local branch and perhaps the roughest of rough diamonds.
Sadly, Greg passed away in late January 2016.
Born in 1949, and a boilermaker by trade, he did his apprenticeship in the railway workshops in Ipswich.
He was a proud union member who was active in the fight for workers' rights during the dark days of the Bjelke-Peterson regime in Queensland.
He was a fixture on the campaign trail. I first met him and got involved in his life when I ran for parliament in 2004.
Greg has been right beside me for 12 years.
We have criss-crossed the electorate over that time. It is impossible to tally the number of cups of coffee and skinny flat whites I have drunk with him in the last 12 years.
I have campaigned with Greg more than any other single person in Blair.
He was always there for me, despite his poor health towards the end of his life.
He was keen for a chat about politics or rugby league and would only disappear from my mobile offices to get his little transistor beside his ear and listen to what was happening at the races.
If he could get a tip, from a jockey or from anyone, he loved it.
He was a great friend of my father Al when his cancer was getting him and he was bedridden in Brisbane.
He would visit my father every week, and for that I am eternally grateful.
He was a character—a very interesting fellow but loyal and true to me.
At times he intervened when people were having a go at me on the campaign trail. On one occasion, I had to restrain him at the Fernvale markets to stop him decking this local bloke. I was trying to convince this fellow to vote for me at the next election, so I did not want Greg decking him!
He was great to deal with and I will miss him terribly.
He is beloved by the Labor Party.
To his son, Tim, and to the rest of the family, you have our condolences.
I am so pleased that the last thing I did was to give him an RM Williams Christmas card voucher and tell him how much I appreciated the work he did in the last 12 months.
He was very special to me and I really loved him.