Politicians across the spectrum have paid tribute to former Hume MP Alby Schultz, who died last month aged 76.
In Parliament yesterday, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Mr Schultz was “one of the great characters”.
“He became a Liberal because he did not like the union, which was always calling his mates out on strike,” Mr Abbott said.
The Prime Minister said “you always knew where you stood” with Mr Schultz. “He was famously irascible. On a number of occasions during my time as leader, Alby would storm out of party room meetings.”
Mr Abbott said Mr Schultz spent some time trying to choose his successor for the seat of Hume: “His successor needed, in Alby’s view, two prerequisites. First, he or she had to be a potential cabinet minister and, second, he or she could not be a member of the National Party under any circumstances!”
That successor was Angus Taylor, who told Parliament Mr Schultz was straightforward and honourable. “He asked for loyalty and he gave it as well. One of his former state colleagues recently said, ‘When you had Alby on your side, you had his whole heart. Half measures weren’t possible.’ To me, that pretty much sums him up.”
The Labor leader Bill Shorten recalled that when Mr Schultz gave his final speech in Parliament he said it was the second draft. Quoting Mr Schultz, Mr Shorten said:
“‘I wrote one, and my wife read it and she said to me, ‘You’re not seriously going to bring that into the chamber, are you?’ She said, ‘You really do have to write something a little bit softer than that, love.”
And, as he did so often in their 53 years of marriage, Alby deferred to Gloria’s judgement.”
Other Parliamentarians will have an opportunity to pay tribute to Mr Schultz on another sitting day.