Mr ENTSCH: I was deeply saddened to learn of the recent passing of my good friend and community champion, Bob Madden.
I firstly became aware of Bob shortly after I was elected into the parliament back in 1996.
Bob was a fierce advocate for improving communication in the Speewah area of my vast electorate.
I very quickly learnt that, as a Liberal—Bob was a lifelong Labor member—we really didn’t see eye to eye.
It’s fair to say that there were some heated conversations in those early days of our relationship, and not a lot of trust.
However, Bob was persistent and I was determined to roll out communications not only in Speewah but across our broader electorate.
Over time, we developed a very strong personal friendship where our political leanings were kept in the bottom drawer.
Bob had outstanding knowledge of issues surrounding communications and connectivity and was very willing to be a community advocate for a range of digital services being rolled out into the region.
This certainly wouldn’t have occurred in that time frame if it wasn’t for Bob’s advocacy.
His knowledge of all things communications related was quite outstanding and his information helped me immensely.
Bob and I kept in touch over the years, and I would, infrequently, give him a call to touch base and have a chat.
I can honestly say a true friendship was formed.
Bob was a community leader and he was respected by his community.
His desire and passion to have the best communications possible for his community was only a close second to his passion and dedication for his beloved Australian Labor Party.
Mate, you almost achieved the impossible, and you will be sadly missed but fondly remembered by all of those who were fortunate enough to cross your path.
Many a time, I had late night discussions with Bob about his frustration up there with the lack of services.
It was a difficult area to service because of the terrain, but, nevertheless he was able to give me a lot of accurate information that I could pass on to the telcos and, in doing so, we actually achieved quite a significant coverage in an area that even I, I have to say to you, believed wasn’t possible.
But, nevertheless, we did it.
As I say, I was very saddened when I heard of Bob’s passing.
I have to say to Bob: thank you, mate, for a job very, very well done.
Thank you very much indeed for your friendship.
I love you to bits mate, and I’ll certainly miss our conversations but, of course, I will never, ever forget you.
Rest in peace, mate.