MR ENTSCH: (Leichhardt) (10:33): You don’t meet many people in your life who are gifted enough to inspire change in business in a community and who leave a long-lasting impression on all of those that they meet.
Robert John Norman, commonly known as ‘Bob’ is one of those men.
On 18 January 2018, a great life came to end; a sudden shock to his family and community, who were told of Bob’s passing at the age of 70.
I would like to pay tribute to Bob for his outstanding leadership and honour, and for the many great achievements and legacies he has left behind for the people of Cairns in Far North Queensland.
Bob was a man that kept his word. He was a tough man and he didn’t back down when he knew what was fair.
But he was a funny man, a kind man and very much a family man.
At the age of 8, Bob entered the world of commerce when he established the world’s first insurance company whose charter read, ‘Hereby RJ Norman signs this contract to insure you from explosions while making inventions.’
So it is no surprise Bob had a clever mind and aspired to many great things throughout his life.
Bob’s passion was flying.
He purchased one of the first R22 helicopters to come to the region and had innumerable hair-raising stories of adventure.
I must admit I flew to quite a few places with Bob when I was first preselected in 1995.
During that time, it gave me an opportunity to gain a great insight into a very special man.
Through that, our friendship developed, and it’s one for which I’ll always be grateful.
Along with other positions he held, Bob was heavily involved in the Cairns Chamber of Commerce.
He was the chair for quite a number of years.
He was on the board of James Cook University, where he lobbied endlessly for independent status of our university.
And the last public role Bob held was the chair of the regional hospital board where he rolled up his sleeves and set about cutting through the red tape and bureaucracy to make the region’s hospital one of the best performers in the state.
Bob leaves behind the love of his life, Di, and their five children, Bobby, Sarah, Fiona, James and Edward, and his grandchildren, William, Henry, Stella, Leo, Elliot, Thomas and Grace.
Bob Norman, you created a great legacy that will continue for future generations. You will be sorely missed, but your memory, of course, will always live on. Rest in peace, my friend.