Tribute to Harold David Mair, OAM, Former Member for Albury

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SpeakersRobertson Mr John
BusinessPrivate Members Statements, PRIV

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Mr JOHN ROBERTSON (Blacktown—Leader of the Opposition) [3.12 p.m.]: Today I pay tribute to a former member of this House, Mr Harold Mair, OAM, and I express the condolences of the people of Blacktown and elsewhere in New South Wales to his family and friends. Harold Mair was the embodiment of Labor principles. He was Country Labor through and through. Harold was first elected at the age of 59. He served as the member for Albury from 1978 to1988. Harold was the son of a railway worker. He attended St Joseph's Parish School and Christian Brothers College. Harold had a long and varied career before entering politics. He was a veteran of World War II. He served first in the Army and then he joined the Air Force in 1942. He remained in the Air Force until 1950, when he left to become an accountant.

Harold was an extremely approachable local member and he greeted his constituents by name as he walked down the street. Like any good local member, he had a reputation for getting Ministers to deliver for his electorate. He had reasonable expectations but he never asked for too much and he also knew the value of saying "Thank you". Harold was respected by members on both sides in this place. He spoke to new and younger members about what was expected of them as members of Parliament and he was always available to give advice. In his time in this place he shared the benches of Parliament with other respected Labor members from country electorates, such as Mr Mick Clough, the Hon. John Akister, the Hon. Terry Sheahan and Mr Bill McCarthy.

In debates Harold was gentlemanly and respectful of other members and all who met him immediately liked him. He was continually focused on his electorate of Albury and when he lobbied for a project for that electorate few Ministers could resist his persuasive argument or manner. Unsurprisingly, Harold had a proud record of delivering for his electorate. He was a driving force behind the bringing of a newsprint mill to Ettamogah, which became a major employer. He also was responsible for numerous infrastructure upgrades, a new courthouse and water and sewerage upgrades. Harold never became a Minister but his record for delivering as a city alderman, mayor of Albury and local member will stand as testament to his long and admirable career in public service.

Later in life Harold did not seem to slow down. He was given many accolades, including an Order of Australia medal and an honorary doctorate from Charles Sturt University. Harold completed his Bachelor of Arts at the tender age of 88. Until quite recently he was a common fixture at former member reunions and the Albury Labor Party holds the annual Harold Mair dinner in his honour. Sadly, Harold passed away on Wednesday 7 September at the ripe old age of 92. His loss will be long felt by the Australian Labor Party, Country Labor, the Labor movement, the people of Blacktown and people elsewhere in New South Wales.