Death Of The Honourable Keith James Enderbury, A Former Member Of The Legislative Council
DEATH OF THE HONOURABLE KEITH JAMES ENDERBURY,
A FORMER MEMBER OF THE LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL
THE PRESIDENT: I announce the death on 15 August 2000 of the Hon. Keith Enderbury, aged 65 years, a former member of this House.
The Hon. M. R. EGAN (Treasurer, Minister for State Development, and Vice-President of the Executive Council) [3.04 p.m.]: I move:
(1) That this House expresses its deep regret at the death on 15 August 2000 of the Hon. Keith James Enderbury, a former member of this House, and conveys its profound sorrow and sympathy to his family.
(2) That this resolution be communicated by the President to his family.
Keith Enderbury was a good colleague, a good and dedicated parliamentarian and a good friend, certainly to the majority of members of this House who had the privilege of knowing him. Only those members who were elected after his retirement would not have met Keith personally. In the publicity that has followed his tragic death on 15 August a considerable amount has been written about Keith's background as a Bankstown boy who moved to the far North Coast of New South Wales, joined the Australian Labor Party [ALP], became an ALP candidate for the seat of Byron and subsequently an organiser for the New South Wales branch of the Australian Labor Party, and was then elected to the New South Wales Parliament in 1984. Keith was always mindful that being a member of Parliament was both a great privilege and a great honour. He always took the job very seriously; he was proud to be a member of Parliament and a Labor member of Parliament. Keith was, for a number of years, also the Opposition Whip in this House, a position he won in a ballot against me in 1989.
The Hon. J. H. Jobling: He was an outstanding Whip.
The Hon. M. R. EGAN: He was an outstanding Whip, as the Hon. J. H. Jobling has pointed out. When our former Whip and friend Barney French retired from that post I indicated that I would be standing for it and so did Keith. I had the support of all the big guns but in the Centre Unity ballot that preceded our main caucus meeting Keith annihilated me by a convincing margin of 25 to 15.
The Hon. J. R. Johnson: Not all the big guns!
The Hon. M. R. EGAN: Not all the big guns, but most of the big guns. I was often uncertain whether I lost that ballot because I had the support of most of the big guns, but I think it was due more to the popularity of the late Keith Enderbury. When you lose a ballot, Madam President, as you have probably experienced from time to time, there is a tendency for that to potentially sour relations. I recall that on the day I lost the ballot to Keith Enderbury things were a bit cool for only a couple of hours, because Keith, at his initiative, broke the ice—and, I must say, did so in a way which gave me an insight into the fact that Keith knew a lot about human nature and a lot about the nature of different people. If Keith had tried to commiserate with me with some well-chosen words, that would have made things worse; it would have rankled. But, in a way that I am not going to inform the House about—because it would give an insight into my personality and character that I do not think would be necessarily advantageous for the House to know—Keith, within a few hours of that ballot taking place, was able to re-establish our relationship not only in a cordial way but in a friendly way and we continued in that manner for a long time. Indeed, I was subsequently appointed Leader of the Opposition and worked very closely with Keith in his job as Opposition Whip.
Keith was not, in the formal sense of the word, what one might describe as a well-educated man, but he was a thoughtful and very well-read man. There were many occasions when you would have a conversation with Keith during which you would mention some book. More often than not he had read it. On other occasions the conversation would cause him to recall a book that he had read. If you displayed any interest in that book it would be the case, more often than not, that on the following day Keith would bring the book into Parliament and not only lend it to you but give it to you. Since Keith's death I have noticed that I have a number of his books sitting on my library shelves. The proviso that Keith always put on his gift of a book was that you would lend it back to him if he ever wanted to read it again. I recall one book that he gave me—I forget the title, but it dealt with the most common flaws in logic in debate and argument. Keith would often sit in this House during a debate, listening to someone make a speech. He did not so much take members to task for the facts that they were trying to convey in their speeches, but he would actually analyse the flaws in their logic. It was because I realised that he had a great interest in doing so that I spoke to him about it and he subsequently gave me the book.
Keith had two sons and he loved both of them very dearly—both of them. Some years ago Keith reminded me of a favourite saying of Ben Chifley, and that was, "To know all is to forgive all." I believe that was the principle that Keith always lived by. As I say, he loved both of his sons and he certainly would have been extremely proud of his elder son, James, and the tribute that he gave at his father's funeral service at St James Church just a few days ago. I do not want to go into the circumstances of Keith's death but I believe that that saying of Ben Chifley's which Keith adopted—"To know all is to forgive all"—says as much as I need to say. Keith was a good friend, a good parliamentarian, a good member of the Labor Party and a very good father. I know that all of his friends will miss him sadly. On my own behalf, on behalf of the Government and, I am sure, on behalf of everyone in this House, I express our very sincere condolences to his family.
The Hon. M. J. GALLACHER (Leader of the Opposition) [3.09 p.m.]: Today we mark the passing of a former member of this House, the Hon. Keith Enderbury, who passed away in particularly tragic circumstances on 15 August. I am told that at the time of Keith's passing his family was at his bedside. On behalf of the Coalition I pass on our condolences to Keith's family and friends, who have endured a trying ordeal over the past few weeks. Keith was a member of the Legislative Council for 11 years—from March 1984 until March 1995—and he served as Opposition Whip from 1989 to 1995. He was also a member of the Standing Committee on Social Issues. I did not serve in the Legislative Council during the time Keith Enderbury was here, but a number of the present members of this House served with him.
From speaking with them recently and from listening to the Leader of the Government in this House, I am assured that he was a well-respected and kind man who had support and friendship from all members of this Chamber. Such a degree of friendship was not limited only to the Legislative Council. I was with the Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly when Keith's death was announced on the radio. I could see the visible emotion she experienced on the announcement of his death. That sort of friendship and interrelationship beyond the boundaries of this Chamber into the Legislative Assembly is encouraging and something that I hope all honourable members will continue to build on.
Members of this Chamber do the work they are required to do to the best of their ability without losing sight of the difficult job they face during debate. Friendships and relationships that are built up over years of service to the people of New South Wales are reflected both inside and outside this Chamber. No doubt a number of members in this Chamber will speak today of their personal insight into the contribution Keith made during his parliamentary service. I look forward to hearing from those members. Keith was a longstanding member of the Labor Party. He served his party well as branch president, ALP organiser, State Electorate Council secretary and campaign director. I know I speak for all honourable members when I say that our thoughts are with Keith's family at this time.
The Hon. D. J. GAY (Deputy Leader of the Opposition) [3.12 p.m.]: On behalf of the National Party I endorse the comments that have been expressed about the Hon. Keith Enderbury, particularly those made by the Leader of the Government. His comments summed up Keith, who was known as the Sheriff to those who served with him. Like the Leader of the Government, I was particularly moved by the comments written by Keith's son and read at the funeral. There is no better legacy to a bloke than those fine words, so sensitively written and epitomising the man they were about. I was moved beyond belief by those words. I shall share with the House a couple of paragraphs from a speech made by Keith and a story involving the Hon. J. R. Johnson, who earlier assured the House that he supported Keith Enderbury against the Hon. M. R. Egan. Is that not right?
The Hon. M. R. Egan: No, Johno was one of my only supporters.
The Hon. D. J. GAY: The source of this story is Senator John Faulkner. He indicates that one of the busiest polling booths on election day is at Sydney Town Hall, as it is a favourite spot for absentee voters. The Labor Party always provides a marquee, how-to-vote cards for every electorate in the State and a horde of enthusiastic booth workers. On one particularly wet election day the task of erecting the marquee fell to Labor Party organiser Keith Enderbury. Unfortunately he positioned the tent so that its end was just where people stood to collect their how-to-vote cards. It ensured that every Labor supporter was damp before they voted.
Enderbury had also erected the marquee with insufficient struts, so hundreds of gallons of water had gathered in the folds of the tent roof. Johno Johnson—who was later to become President of the Legislative Council—was beside himself with the discomfort this caused to Labor voters. He berated Keith for his lack of planning. "Don't worry, I can fix this," said Enderbury, grabbing a long broom handle. Just as he was poised to solve the problem, two little girls in party dresses arrived with their grandmother, who wanted to vote before taking them to their party. Enderbury rammed the broom into and through the large fold in the tent roof, unleashing a torrent of water. As the two little girls and grandma were washed down George Street, the last words grandma was heard to scream were, "That's the last time I ever vote Labor!" One has to take that story in context with two paragraphs out of the many speeches that Keith Enderbury made in this House. He said:
They are appropriate words and they sum up the bloke we knew as the Sheriff, Keith Enderbury.
I have always been alert to detect the influence of extremism in politics. Extremism has always been rejected by the electorate whenever its candidates have presented themselves at election time—whether they be from the far right or the far left—and so it should be.
Extremists still exist. From time to time the far right will attempt to infiltrate the Liberal Party and the National Party and the far left will attempt to infiltrate the Labor Party. Fortunately, so far they have had little success. These extremists believe that they can achieve their aims by climbing onto the backs of the major political parties. They have no place in our society. However, this does not stop fanatics from trying. I always believe that the mark of an extremist is a person who starts with a conclusion …
The Hon. J. F. RYAN [3.16 p.m.]: I had the pleasure of serving with the Hon. Keith Enderbury on the Standing Committee on Social Issues. Members of committees often have a chance to find out a little more about each other. The Hon. Keith Enderbury continued to be the quiet gentleman that he always was and, while he was always pleasant company, one did not get the opportunity to find out what he was like. However, I suspected that that very dapper exterior—which always acknowledged the 1960s—contained a rogue waiting to escape. I am sure that the story the Deputy Leader of the Opposition just told the House illustrates that point. I cannot imagine that a person would have acquired a nickname like the Sheriff—with all the meaning that had within his political party—without having been capable of getting up to some level of good fun and mischief. Notwithstanding that, as I said, he was always a quietly spoken and polite gentleman.
He did not speak in this place very often, but when he did he spoke well. He served most of the three or four years of the Fiftieth Parliament—when I served with him on the social issues committee—as Opposition Whip and his most common speech was in the order of, "The Opposition has pleasure in supporting the bill." He rarely departed from that text, so when Keith chose to make a more extensive speech one knew it was something he felt strongly about. On one of those occasions he spoke about one of those traditional attacks on this House by the Daily Telegraph, and he spoke very strongly about his support for the bicameral legislature and about how this House represents a wide variety of people.
I recall a speech he gave on another occasion in response to a report from the social issues committee, of which he and I, the Hon. Helen Sham-Ho, the Hon. Elisabeth Kirkby and the Hon. Dr Marlene Goldsmith were members. The writing of the report was particularly distressing for us because we met many people in desperate circumstances during the committee's inquiry. On that occasion Keith—in some respects, I thought, unexpectedly—sided with the minority report. Keith did not side with the specific position put by the committee.
In this House he explained that he believed that the other conclusion was discriminatory. Many of us understand the emotion dealt with in that report. Keith was quietly spoken and in many respects he was not a very opinionated person—he was something of a contrast to the usual egos that inhabit this place. In this House people have a lot to say and want to press their opinions on others; Keith did not do that at all. In some respects it was a little unusual that the quiet guy of the committee would come to that conclusion. Nevertheless, he said something which obviously meant something to him. He concluded his speech in that take note debate with the following quote from Abraham Lincoln:
It is obvious from many other things that Keith said in this House that those words pretty much summarise how he felt about his duty and role in public life. Along with other members of this House I felt enormous sadness as the news about Keith's death came to the public's attention. Early in the morning there were unnamed reports on ABC radio; during the course of the day we learned the graphic details. Finally, we received the report of Keith's death. I recall feeling extremely distressed when I heard the circumstances under which Keith had met his end. Keith was committed to the functions of this House. He served it and the people of New South Wales well, according to his beliefs. I express my sympathy to his family for their loss and for their future without him.
I hold that while man exists it is his duty to improve not only his own condition but to assist in ameliorating mankind—I am for those means which will give the greatest good to the greatest number.
The Hon. R. D. DYER [3.22 p.m.]: I associate myself with the motion of condolence following the tragic passing of the Hon. Keith Enderbury. Keith served in this House from 1984 until 1995. I had the privilege of serving with him during the whole of that period, given that I have been a member of the House since 1979. I knew Keith when he was northern organiser of the Australian Labor Party, New South Wales Branch. To my knowledge he was always known as the Sheriff. So far as I know the derivation of that term was that previously in his career he was a sheriff's officer. As a joke he often carried a toy sheriff's badge and if one asked to see it he would produce a silver, star-shaped sheriff's badge. He liked to share that joke with people from time to time.
I admired Keith in his role as Opposition Whip between 1989 and 1995. During much of the time that the Australian Labor Party was in opposition, and Keith was its Whip, my office was immediately outside the suite occupied by the Leader of the Opposition, at that time shared by the present Leader of the Government, the Hon. M. R. Egan, and a former member of this House the Hon. Bryan Vaughan. At that time I was a shadow Minister and Keith's office was adjacent to mine. Keith was most meticulous about how he carried out his duties as Opposition Whip. He had a clipboard with a list of forthcoming bills and because my office was immediately next to his I was the first person he would visit with that massive list. Keith would endeavour to persuade me to speak to as many of those bills as he could. Sometimes I would demur and say, "Keith, I am not sure that I know much about that." Sometimes, perhaps beyond my better judgment, I might reply, "Okay mate, if you want me to speak to that bill, I will."
I instanced that interaction to illustrate that Keith was very conscientious about how he carried out his duties as Whip: obtaining Opposition speakers to bills, having the numbers in the House, pairing arrangements, et cetera. I am sure that the Hon. J. H. Jobling would have first-hand knowledge of the matters to which I am referring. I am very sad as to the manner of Keith's passing. However, I take some pride in recalling Keith's contribution to this House. It is with sincerity that I associate myself with this condolence motion and I convey my most sincere sympathies to his surviving relatives.
The Hon. J. H. JOBLING [3.27 p.m.]: I rise to briefly associate myself with the motion of condolence and to support the words of the Leader of the House and my colleagues. At a time such as this the memories and thoughts that one has of a colleague are very personal and sometimes it is quite difficult to put them into words. Keith Enderbury was a fellow of the class of '84, as I was. As such, we knew each other over a lengthy period. As the Hon. R. D. Dyer stated, I got to know Keith extraordinarily well when I served as Government Whip and he was my counterpart as Opposition Whip. I knew him well and we had an excellent working relationship, which is not always so between Whips or between members of the Government and members of the Opposition. I found Keith to be considerate and thoughtful. He was interested in his fellow members and would not stand any nonsense from them. He would do all that he could within the camaraderie that develops between Whips to ensure that the House worked properly, that people were there, speeches were made on time, and the running of the House progressed. The title of the Sheriff, as was explained, is one that shows the humour and personality of the man.
I got to know Keith extremely well—and this is the only anecdote I will convey to the House—after lunch on a Sunday of a long weekend when I passed Keith's office on my way to my office. I thought I could hear a wee, plaintive "Help." I thought nothing of it and proceeded to my office. About an hour later, having completed my work, I returned past Keith's office and heard a more resounding "Help!" I opened the door to Keith's office. Those of you who knew him well knew that occasionally he suffered from a bad back. He had frozen in his chair, he was totally unable to move and he could not reach the telephone to call security for help. There he was, stuck in his chair, completely unable to move. But for the sheer luck that I happened to be there at that time it would have been Tuesday morning before help and relief arrived.
Keith was most grateful. In straightening him up so that he could move, and then getting help for him, we began to get to know one another extremely well. Without doubt Keith was a character. Without doubt he was worldly and experienced but at the same time very quiet. He was a gentleman, a great colleague and an extraordinarily dedicated parliamentarian. He served the citizens of this State well. Indeed, the citizens of this State will be saddened by his passing. I convey my sincere condolences and sympathy to the members of Keith's family.
The Hon. HELEN SHAM-HO [3.30 p.m.]: I associate myself with this condolence motion for Keith Enderbury, who died on 15 August. I was shocked and saddened when I heard the tragic and horrible circumstances in which he died. I pay tribute to Keith. As other honourable members have said, Keith was well liked and respected when he was a member of this Parliament. I echo the comments of the Hon. J. F. Ryan. I did not know Keith very well, but I got to know him when we were members of the Standing Committee on Social Issues. During the committee's visit to Canada and America, Keith and I were members of a subcommittee and we spent every day together for more than a week.
Indeed, after the committee concluded its visit, Keith and I ended up staying in England for two days, at our own expense. I got to know Keith very well because we stayed in the same hotel. During that time I found out that Keith was not only a gentleman but also an artist. He said to me that, given another time, he would like to have been an actor. I do not know whether that information ever came out. Indeed, Keith convinced me that I should be interested in going to the theatre and things like that, which I do in any case. I remember well our trip to the theatre in London to see the 3 Moses. He was very humorous, and I enjoyed his company. That is one side of Keith that no-one seems to have mentioned.
The Hon. J. F. Ryan referred to the inquiry by the Standing Committee on Social Issues into medically acquired HIV-AIDS. One point I should like to clarify is that Keith gave me much support when I produced a minority report. Of course, Keith was in Opposition so he had no problem with producing a minority report. However, at that stage I was a member of the Government. I was grateful and appreciative of Keith's support when I stood up on the principle that the minority report should stand. That indicates the contribution Keith made to this Parliament. I convey my sincere condolences to members of Keith's family.
The Hon. J. R. JOHNSON [3.33 p.m.]: Today we pay tribute to a good man. Keith Enderbury undertook his responsibilities to the fullest in this Parliament from March 1984 through to May 1995. He was the Opposition Whip for six years. Not only did he take his parliamentary responsibilities seriously; he took seriously his responsibilities in his union, his work in many fields of endeavour, his activities for the political party he loved and served so well and, above all, his family. He loved his family with a passion. In 1976 Keith took up the position of country organiser for the Australian Labor Party, based in Tweed Heads. He remained there until he took his seat in this Parliament. Keith's office and my office at the Labor Party were next door to each other.
Keith had many and varied interests. The Hon. Helen Sham-Ho mentioned the fact that he was interested in acting. Indeed, he was interested in local acting groups in the areas in which he lived. He was a great townsman. When he lived on the North Coast, whether it was in Lismore, Tweed Heads, Coffs Harbour or later in Tamworth, he played an important role in promoting those towns. He had a passion for State development, regional development and, above all, the securing of meaningful jobs for people in those towns.
The Deputy Leader of the Opposition referred to one of Keith's contributions to this House, in which he warned of extremists who might attempt to make inroads into political parties, and urged all political parties to guard against the endeavours of extremists. Thankfully, all the political parties have done so. Keith was interested in small business development. In one contribution he said that approximately 12 per cent of Sydney's working population are either employers or self-employed, but that the figure jumps to 25 per cent in country areas.
Keith stressed the importance of assisting small business in all ways possible and the benefits it brings to country areas. When he went to Tamworth he took up the cudgels and threw his best endeavours behind the country music festival. He was interested in the racing industry and tourism because he had seen, in the areas in which he lived, their great benefits. Keith only had good words to say about his friends, his enemies and his compatriots. I doubt if anyone in New South Wales was not shocked by the way Keith Enderbury left this life. The tribute read by Reverend James MacPherson at the funeral service at St James Church on behalf of Keith's elder son James will long live in my memory, as it will in the memory of each and every person who heard it. In Keith's final contribution to this House he paid tribute to his two sons, James and Christiaan. He said:
I give a big thank you to Keith for being the good man that he was. May his noble soul rest in peace.
I became a single parent just one month before I became a member of Parliament and over the years my sons have had to suffer long absences by me on parliamentary duties, including absences on many weekends and sometimes absence from the family home for many weeks, plus my being away later on countless nights. I have on occasions been obliged to miss their birthdays, school activities and so on. At times it has been very difficult for all of us. However, their loyalty and support for me have never wavered. To them I give a big thank you.
Reverend the Hon. F. J. NILE [3.41 p.m.]: I share with other honourable members this opportunity to pay tribute to the memory of Keith Enderbury, who died tragically in the Concord Hospital Burns Unit shortly after 3.00 p.m. on Tuesday 15 August. Keith was a Labor member of the Legislative Council from March 1984 to March 1995. He was involved with the Australian Labor Party [ALP] for more than 30 years and served the ALP for 11 years in the upper House. During those 11 years we came to know and appreciate Keith both as a true gentleman and as a gentle man in his behaviour and attitude to all members in this House. Through his character, personality and bearing he made a great contribution to this House.
The Premier said in the other place that members on both sides of politics had fond memories of Keith Enderbury. I concur with the Premier's remark. Members addressing this condolence motion have spoken of times when they were close to Keith personally. On a number of occasions, as members of the Standing Committee on Social Issues investigating various issues, such as AIDS or sexual violence against women or young people, we travelled overseas to meet with experts and organisations. During those trips we worked hard during the week, and met a constant stream of appointments each day. But on the weekends, if we did not have committee business and as many of the committee members were women, Keith and I would end up together on our own. I tended to tag along and did not make suggestions about where to go. I would ask Keith what he wanted to do and off we would head to various places, to take a ferry ride when in San Francisco, or to look at the sights.
On one occasion in Los Angeles we visited the many shops on Wiltshire Boulevarde that sell expensive art deco items, in which Keith had an interest. As honourable members know, Keith was always immaculately dressed, usually with a kerchief in his pocket. When he went into the shops I could almost see the salespersons calculating and thinking: "Here's a millionaire coming in. This guy is going to spend a lot of money." We would start at the front of a shop but quickly would be ushered to the expensive items at the back. I would become embarrassed and ask Keith, "Do you have any money? Are you are actually going to buy anything?" The salespersons would bring out vases and sculptures and Keith would evaluate their worth. After a while we knew it was time for us to move on to another shop and we would work our way back out again. The shopowners were disappointed, but Keith did enjoy looking at all the expensive items.
Some honourable members have referred to Keith's interest in the theatre. There is a private theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles, where actors perform plays for the Actors Society. They do it for relaxation. They are serious about their acting, but they enjoy themselves. Keith found out about this theatre and managed to get us both in to view a performance. Keith was in his element sitting in that theatre with actors young and old, many of them well-known. I have very warm memories of Keith. He was a great loss to this House and he will long be remembered.
In his maiden speech Keith gave a description of a young fellow, a thin youth of dishevelled appearance whose clothes were filthy and no better than rags. He went on to tell a story about this young man running messages around the city, even on occasions in Macquarie Street, where he was not admitted into the courtyard of Parliament House, let alone into the building or into this Chamber. The young man was a first-year apprentice in the printing trade. After telling the story Keith said, "That youth was me." Keith developed his career and became a member of this Chamber—a splendid achievement. In his farewell speech Keith gave excellent advice, as members are able to do when they are about to leave this place. He made a number of points that deserve to be put on the record today as we honour Keith. He said:
Then he wisely said: "Enough said." He may have upset those who wielded executive power. He went on to say:
I believe in the two-house system of Parliament for two reasons. First, it allows for a pause in the legislative process, allowing for further debate after representations and after interest groups have had their say. This leads to better legislation. I also believe that the second House acts as a safeguard against the excesses of Executive power.
Keith also said that he had three aims, each of which he had promoted and seen achieved. Of the three aims he said:
I have had the honour to serve as Opposition Whip in this place following a distinguished line of members before me who have held this important post.
Keith achieved those admirable aims. In his final comments in this House Keith gave advice that showed the actor in him. He said:
The first was for Labor members of the Legislative Council to gain admittance to the State parliamentary Labor Party caucus. The second was to gain parity in salary for the Legislative Council with the Legislative Assembly. The third was to gain full-time secretaries for all members of the House.
To Ministers I say: it is axiomatic that hornets' nests should be left unstirred, cans of worms should remain unopened and cats should be left firmly in bags and not set among the pigeons. Ministers should also leave the boats unrocked, leave nettles ungrasped, refrain from taking bulls by the horns and resolutely turn their backs to the music. Seriously though, one thing I really believe is what Abraham Lincoln once said, "No man is good enough to govern another man, without that other's consent." This, I believe, is the essence of democracy.
Keith, in addition to having a strong desire to be an actor, was an excellent politician and a philosopher. All of us should long remember his advice to the House.
The Hon. J. J. DELLA BOSCA (Special Minister of State, Minister for Industrial Relations, Assistant Treasurer, Minister Assisting the Premier on Public Sector Management, and Minister Assisting the Premier for the Central Coast) [3.50 p.m.]: Like many other honourable members, I had a close political association with Keith Enderbury over the past 20 years. For a time he and I were the two party organisers for the Australian Labor Party [ALP] in New South Wales. Keith Enderbury was, in fact, the first full-time Labor Party organiser based outside the Sydney-Newcastle area. He held the position of what was termed the northern organiser between 1976 and 1984. This meant that he was responsible for internal party organisation and campaigning in all areas north of Newcastle, extending west as far as Moree, and north to the Queensland border. In this role Keith established and built up a network of party units for the ALP that were to serve it well. His commanding personality, sense of humour, conviviality and enthusiasm made him ideally suited to the task, which involved dealing with people on a one-to-one basis.
His presence in the field established links between diverse and scattered party units. As a result of his work, the Labor Party built up its organisation and morale, especially on the North Coast. I believe this led ultimately to great electoral success in the 1990s on the far North Coast. Much of Keith's work in building up the ALP networks and branches contributed to Labor's then astounding Federal victories in the seats of Page and Richmond in 1990. His role as a full-time organiser also enabled Keith to make valuable contributions to the party, and therefore to public policy debates, on rural and provincial issues and country life in general. Keith was a familiar figure and a great contributor to the party's highly successful country conferences over the past two decades. His role as a political organiser for the Labor Party saw him take an organisational role in many campaigns across the State.
As a party official I worked closely with Keith Enderbury, or the Sheriff as he was known. This title aptly suited him, as other members have noted. He had been a sheriff's officer at one time, but the manner in which he always rounded up the numbers at meetings and conferences saw the title stick. So much so that a visiting American political delegation, I think from Colorado or one of the other midwestern States, presented Keith with a sheriff's badge, as the Hon. R. D. Dyer mentioned. I think the Leader of the Opposition probably was referring to that aspect of the nickname. Keith was very proud of that badge, which he kept in his office and showed to confidants from time to time as a mark of the thoroughness with which he lived up to his nickname, the Sheriff.
Keith was a great guy to work with. Political organisers and party officials need colleagues they can trust both personally and politically. That applies no matter what side of politics they are on. Keith was such a person. I can relate an anecdote at my own expense rather than at Keith's expense. I am not sure whether it relates to the same election campaign, but it sheds some light on an anecdote that the Hon. D. J. Gay read out about Johno Johnson and John Faulkner. The 1983 Federal election was held on a miserable, wet day. Those of us who were activists in one party or another would recall that day. Early that morning, Keith and I as party organisers had been rostered, as was the custom, to set up the Town Hall booth at an ungodly hour—I think it was perhaps 4.30 or 5 o'clock in the morning. The tables had to be set up and 101 other jobs done, obviously long before the voters were to turn up. As a young, keen party official, my job was to work with Keith and have the booth operational as early as possible.
I have a confession to make. That was a crucial election. Under Bob Hawke, Labor was poised to win government. Unfortunately for me, the stretch of a long campaign had caused me to be late that day. By the time I managed to get to Sydney Town Hall it was well after daylight and Keith had set up the booth by himself. When our then boss, General Secretary Steve Loosely, our recently departed boss at that time, Graham Richardson, and other senior figures arrived later in the morning, Keith said nothing about my very belated start to any of my colleagues or our employers. He covered for me. He was a good mate—a traditional Australian who really looked after those he worked with, those he worked for, and those whose interests he was pursuing.
Keith was a commanding personality who was well suited for the role of a political organiser or member of Parliament. As members will no doubt recall, Keith was well over six feet tall in stature. He always wore an authoritative and dapper style of dress, right down to his pocket handkerchief. Keith always had a commanding presence at any meeting or function. He was a devoted father. It must have been difficult for him to raise his boys whilst undertaking his political tasks, but this never appeared to trouble him; he always coped so well. Those who knew Keith at all levels of the party were struck by one great quality: his loyalty. It is a valuable and often rare quality in politics. Keith was fiercely loyal to his party and to his mates within it. This was seen again and again in broad party issues and in internal party factional matters.
In every sense, Keith was the ultimate team player, the absolute party man. Possibly Keith's very obvious, unswerving loyalty to the team is what impressed his colleagues most and set an example to many in the party. Keith was always present at the annual State ALP conference, and this is where our paths last crossed in June this year. He was never short of an anecdote, or of a friendly smile for an old colleague or delegate who needed someone in authority to talk to. All those who associate with New South Wales Labor, and especially with country politics, will mourn his passing. Keith was a generous, loyal person and, as the Treasurer and other members have said, a natural intellectual and a truly thoughtful and decent man.
The Hon. Dr B. P. V. PEZZUTTI [3.56 p.m.]: I would like to speak briefly about Keith Enderbury and his contribution to this place. Many members have commented on Keith's dapper dress, his assured nature and his quiet but very considered approach to life. I noticed that Keith was not a pushy person but was always open for a chat during late night sittings. I was particularly impressed by his understanding as Whip when one needed a pair. He and the Hon. J. H. Jobling worked very responsibly and effectively to make that arrangement work well and in accordance with certain standards. I was always impressed by Keith's concern for his party members. If one of them was a bit crook, he would always come over to my side and ask me if I would mind seeing them, and of course I did not mind. I was impressed by his understanding of the Mental Health Act, and I now more deeply understand why that was the case. I pay tribute to the Deputy-President, the Hon. A. B. Kelly, for the fine eulogy he delivered at the service. I was also most impressed by the quiet eulogy offered in the letter written by Keith's son, James.
I remember clearly the trouble that Keith Enderbury and Ken Reed used to get into. Both strongly represented the North Coast to the best of their ability. Of course, they were a little embarrassed about being Labor Party members trying to represent an area which had been forgotten by that party for so long. Their efforts to try to advantage the North Coast and to be true to their origins were noteworthy. On many evenings Keith Enderbury and Ken Reed returned to this Chamber in happy mood. They were never too noisy, but they obviously had had a good time. My thoughts and wishes go out to Keith's family that they will be able to recover from their sad loss. I know that we have lost a good colleague and a friend of the North Coast.
The Hon. Elaine NILE [3.58 p.m.]: I pay tribute to Keith Enderbury. I did not know him as well as the Labor Party knew him. As other members have said, he was a loyal and devoted member of that party. He was a loving and devoted father, which in a sense is better than being a good father. He valued his children, and he was able to rise above all the problems that he and his family were confronted with. Keith's death came as a shock to many, as something that surely could not have happened, in much the same way that news of the death of President Kennedy was received. All of us know that we have to die some day, but we do not think about it. The manner in which Keith died was a great shock to me. I feel deeply for his family and his sons given that the realisation of the way he died will be with them for the rest of the days.
Keith and I were of the same vintage, and I remember speaking with him about World War II, musicals, the stage, the plays he was interested in, his parents and so on. I can still see him in this Chamber lifting up his shoulders and shrugging. He was a gentleman, and I think the ladies liked him. He is a loss to his community and the Labor Party, to which he was very loyal. His loyalty, whether it is in the Parliament or life generally, is hard to come by. We in this Chamber will surely miss him and the manner in which he lived his life. He was a gentleman and a caring person. I would like to express my sympathy because, as a woman, I know the heartache the rest of his family must be going through.
The Hon. A. B. KELLY [4.00 p.m.]: In adding my condolences to Keith Enderbury's family I would like to reiterate the comments made by the Hon. Dr B. P. V. Pezzutti, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition and other honourable members about the absolutely fantastic tribute given to Keith by his son James. As someone said to me afterwards, if any of us have our children deliver that sort of eulogy at our funeral we would be very pleased.
As many honourable members have mentioned, although Keith was born in Bankstown he spent a lot of his time on the North Coast of New South Wales, particularly in the Kingscliff, Byron, Richmond and Coffs Harbour areas. Keith was a candidate for the State seat of Byron in 1975, and he was very proud when he achieved an 8 per cent swing. He was a very capable organiser—probably the first country organiser we had in the Australian Labor Party. When he moved to Tamworth he was very keen, as other honourable members have mentioned, to promote that town and the Country Music Festival. He also served as campaign director in country by-elections for Castlereagh, Murray, Maitland and Richmond. The Castlereagh by-election was an excellent result for the party, and many stories came out of it.
Some comments have been made about Keith's nickname the Sheriff, which is the result of his spending some 11 or 12 years as a sheriff's officer. As I said in the eulogy I gave at Keith's funeral, I first remember Keith walking up and down the hallway as a vote was being taken at our annual conference in the town hall. Keith was looking at us rather than looking at the speakers, what was happening, or taking his place in the seat and having his hand up. It was my first conference and I asked someone who had more experience with these things than I, "What's that fellow doing wandering up and down, looking at us?" He said, "He's the sheriff. He's making sure you vote the right away." The insinuation was that if I did not vote the right way I would not be back next year. As the Treasurer said earlier, there are not many second votes in the Labor Party.
I do not want to take the time of the House today because I had the opportunity to deliver a eulogy at Keith's funeral, but I would like to leave honourable members with some of the comments that he made—
The PRESIDENT: Order! Despite Standing Order No. 59 there is a general agreement that we will have questions without notice.