Bill's Speeches

SPEECH - STATEMENT ON INDULGENCE – PASSING OF MARK COLVIN - CANBERRA - THURSDAY, 11 MAY 2017

STATEMENT ON INDULGENCE – PASSING OF MARK COLVIN 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, CANBERRA 

THURSDAY, 11 MAY 2017

Mr Speaker, on indulgence. 

I want to thank the Prime Minister for his words. 

On behalf of the Labor Party and the Opposition, I wish to express our and my condolences to Mark Colvin’s family – and to his colleagues – at his tragic passing today. 

Across four decades, across mediums and continents, I think we all agree Mark Colvin was one of the finest minds in journalism. 

We use the words 'giants' perhaps causally sometimes, but no one would dispute that he giant of journalism. 

From Canberra, London, Tehran, Rwanda, Belfast and Baghdad – Mark explained to Australians what we needed to know, in a way only he could do. 

Most Australians would know Mark best through the ABC’s PM program.  

For two decades, his was the calm, measured, mellifluous voice with us in our cars as we drive home, keeping us company on an evening shift, perhaps in the kitchen as we got dinner ready. 

He had a certain manner – a disarming mix of gentleness and authority – that would cajole even the most skilled, recalcitrant non-answerers into finishing a sentence of which passes through the mind of the interviewee, 'did I just say that?'. 

This is a loss to journalism, as the Prime Minister has said, but it's a loss to the public discourse, a loss to our national life. 

To his family, I say most Australians will never know him in the way you did, but it is a remarkable gift to know someone through their voice alone.  

And through his voice, and the capacity, and his values, to be able to know a person, that I think, is the mark of the person who has passed. 

Mark’s life was interesting, rewarding, colourful and challenging. 

His was a life worth living. 

He was a man worth knowing. 

Journalism’s gentleman.   

A voice we’ll never forget. 

May he rest in peace.


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