THE HON BILL SHORTEN MP
LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
MEMBER FOR MARIBYRNONG
VALE BOB ELLIS
Tonight the telephone tree of sadness has spread the mournful news - Bob Ellis, literary true believer, has left us.
I have spoken to Annie, and to Bob’s children, to offer condolences from Chloe and I, and to tell them of the deep sense of loss the Labor family feels.
As an author, playwright, screenwriter, speechwriter, correspondent, commentator and candidate Bob Ellis blessed Australia with more than four decades of brilliant phrases.
Bob’s writing moved people to tears and drove others to litigation. At every turn he confounded and delighted, he shocked and awed.
There was truly no such thing as a dispassionate Ellis piece. With Bob, it was always personal, it was always emotional, it was never dull.
The son of a commercial traveller and a staunch Seventh Day Adventist from Lismore, Bob lived a remarkable Australian life.
He belonged to a generation of Australian genius whose irreverent disregard for convention helped sculpt an independent, confident sense of identity, free from the cultural cringe. He helped write, and tell, our national story.
Bob revelled in the contrary prediction, the outside chance. He was never one to recycle received wisdom, or edit his prose to the fashion of the moment. He wrote by his lights, to his code with a righteous certainty that leapt from the page and grabbed the reader by the ears.
As a member of the vast, diverse, ever-expanding tribe of Ellis correspondents, I can say that I will miss much more than Bob’s writing. I will miss his friendship, his counsel and his unshakeable faith in difficult times.
Bob was Labor, and Labor will miss him.
For all of us who knew Bob - and for those who will never get the chance to know him - this is a very sad day.
Rest in peace, digger.
SUNDAY, 3 APRIL 2016