MS TIERNEY (Western Victoria—Minister for Training and Skills, Minister for Higher Education) (10:00:47):
I rise today to reflect on the life of Gordon Scholes, a man whose life was devoted to longstanding service to his community and to the Australian Labor Party.
Gordon Scholes died in December 2018 at the age of 87. He represented the federal electorate of Corio for a continuous 26 years before his retirement in 1993.
Gordon began his contribution to public life with the Geelong Trades and Labour Council, then as a Geelong city councillor, before standing for federal Parliament.
During his long parliamentary career Gordon was the Speaker of the House of Representatives during the tumultuous period of the 1975 constitutional crisis and then a minister in the Hawke government from 1983 to 1987, first overseeing defence and then territories.
Most importantly Gordon was a dedicated local member. At no stage did he lose touch with his working-class roots. His family tradition was to work for the Victorian railways and to be an active member of the Australian Federated Union of Locomotive Employees.
Gordon carried that tradition several steps further. As a member of Parliament he worked tirelessly for the Geelong region and its people, and he played a pivotal role in the establishment of Deakin University in Geelong.
Gordon Scholes was an astute, clever man—great attributes in political life—and on a personal level he was genuine and humble, with a very clear sense of right and wrong. He remained tough and determined, assets during his formative years in the 1950s and 60s, a time when politics was not for the faint-hearted.
In the words of a former member for Geelong, Ian Trezise: I don’t think there’s been any politicians in Geelong more respected, more revered and who achieved more than Gordon Scholes.
Vale, Gordon Scholes.