Parliamentary sittings resumed today in Canberra following a six-week break with the first day being dedicated to commemorating member for Canning Don Randall.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott led the tributes to Mr Randall, who died of a suspected heart attack while carrying out electoral duties in Boddington on July 21.
“This house quite frequently notes the passing of the great, the good and the famous but there’s a shock, a poignancy when we remember someone who was sitting amongst us just six weeks ago,” he said.
“Six weeks ago we could talk with him, joke with him, dine with him and on occasion be chided by him and now he’s gone.”
Mr Abbott recounted stories mentioned at Mr Randall’s funeral including his interest in beekeeping, gardening, violin playing and horse training.
He also spoke of Mr Randall’s history as a jackeroo, rodeo rider, City of Belmont councillor and teacher who specialised in helping children with disabilities.
“All of this reflected a natural inquisitiveness and an interest in people that made him well suited to public life,” he said.
Earlier, Federal Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch tied a single white rose to the microphone at Mr Randall’s desk.
Federal Member for Hasluck Ken Wyatt remembered Mr Randall as a long time friend and colleague within the education system, who had encouraged him to enter federal politics.
“He was always nurturing and mentoring and it was one of the things I loved about him,” he said.
Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss remembered him as a family man who was dedicated to his electorate and his staff.
“He was one of the larger than life characters of parliament and a formidable political advocate,” he said.
He said one of the reasons for Mr Randall’s success in Canning was his slogan ‘you talk, I’ll listen’.
Mr Randall was also remembered for his humour in parliament including the incident where he brought a cardboard cut out of then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to highlight the disconnect between Mr Rudd insisting parliament sit on Fridays despite not attending himself.
Justice Minister Michael Keenan recounted his childhood growing up on the same street where Mr Randall worked as a teacher where he was legendary amongst the students who attended the school long before he entered parliament.
Mr Randall was also remembered by opposition members who described him as a committed parliamentarian with strong convictions.