Vale Simon Crean
I rise to pay tribute to a friend, a mentor and an incredible Australian, Simon Crean. I was so lucky to cross paths with Simon when I was just 19. I was even luckier that I got to work with him, a journey that lasted eight years but that has stayed with me my whole life. Some politicians come and go. Some are the real deal, genuine with vision and integrity, always trying to encourage and see the best in people, to change Australia for the better. Simon was one of those people. He had solid values, the utmost integrity, a prodigious work ethic, a big intellect and spades of courage. He was cheeky and humble and inquisitive. Those who had the pleasure of meeting Simon were always left with the impression that they were the most important person to him. At an event, no matter how big, Simon made it his business to try and talk to everyone there, and it was not just talk – he listened. He wanted to know and understand your story.
Simon leaves an incredible legacy in every portfolio he led, from employment to trade and the arts and more; as leader of the Labor Party and ACTU president; and locally in his electorate of Hotham. While he never did get to contest an election as leader, I firmly believe that Simon Crean would have been a highly capable and successful prime minister. Simon was among the best human beings I have known, and Australia is a better country because of his work and his humanity. He was a towering figure in the labour movement, the Australian Labor Party and Australian politics, a person who will be remembered and revered for generations. Our love and care now and always to Carole, Sarah, Emma, David and all the Crean family. Vale, Simon Crean, a friend and a mentor.