Death of Mr Ian Doric Glachan, a Former Member of the Legislative Assembly

About this Item
SubjectsMembers of Parliament; Obituaries; Liberal Party: New South Wales
SpeakersGallacher The Hon Michael; Ryan The Hon John; Forsythe The Hon Patricia; Lynn The Hon Charlie; Clarke The Hon David; Harwin The Hon Don; Tsang The Hon Henry
Commentary Ian Glachan

Page: 16633

    The Hon. MICHAEL GALLACHER (Leader of the Opposition) [10.55 p.m.], by leave: Might I start by thanking the House for giving members of the Liberal Party the opportunity to put on the record our thanks for the contribution, in both a professional and a personal sense, that Ian Glachan made not only to the Liberal Party but to the people of New South Wales. There has been a lot said in the Legislative Assembly this evening as the condolence motion has been wholeheartedly supported by both sides of politics in that Chamber. In this Chamber tonight I recognise that a number of members will want to say a few words and put on to the record their thoughts about their relationship with Ian. I too will take this opportunity to make a brief contribution.

    For members who are not fully aware, Ian Glachan, the former member for Albury, passed away on 20 April. Of course, Ian left the State parliamentary team at the last State election. But he most certainly did not walk away from the role and responsibilities that he had for many years in public office. After leaving the State Parliament he was wholeheartedly elected to the local council in Albury. Up until the time of his death he contributed even further to his local community—something that is most certainly not lost on the people of Albury and is not lost on people on this side of politics who continued to work with Ian, as, indeed, did the people of Albury, on issues of importance to them.

    Much is said about people in the Liberal Party being stalwarts. I think it is fair to say that because of the contribution Ian Glachan made over the years, both in the Parliament and in an organisational sense in the party before becoming a member of Parliament, he is one person who most certainly qualifies for that description. Ian Glachan is a stalwart of Albury, having moved off the land in country New South Wales and gone to Albury to open up a newsagency.

    After becoming a member of Parliament in 1996 and travelling down to Albury as a backbencher to get an understanding of country issues in a part of the State in which I had spent very little time prior to entering Parliament, I was amazed at the depth of the fondness shown towards Ian Glachan by the local people. It was very difficult to walk through the shopping centre with Ian because you would only get a very short distance before someone would stop Ian and start talking to him about topical issues, both professional and personal. The relationship he had with the people in Albury certainly went beyond that of normal politicians; he worked with the people on a very personal level.

    Ian Glachan was without any doubt a good man. He was a committed Christian, a committed family man, and a committed representative for the people of Albury. It is often said that behind every great man there is an even greater woman. In the case of the Glachan family, Ian and his wonderful wife, Helen, were most certainly a team. We will always remember them as a team, and the Liberal Party will always remember them working together for the best interests of the people of Albury.

    Even though Ian is no longer with us, the contribution the Glachan team made to Albury will continue for many years to come, with both Helen and their daughter getting involved in the political hurly-burly of Albury. Indeed, Helen is now taking a very well-respected and well-earned place on the State executive of the Liberal Party. It is fantastic to have you here, Helen, in the Liberal Party, ensuring that the work you have done for Albury and the contribution that you and Ian made as a team are continued in the Liberal Party and in Albury, the area so loved by both of you.

    It is great to have Helen in the Parliament this evening. I got to know the Glachans at the time of my preselection in 1995-96. All members who visited Albury were welcomed into the family as if we had known them for many years. Indeed, it was an insult to stay anywhere other than at their home. During some of my visits to Albury I had the opportunity to move through the town centre with Ian and what I witnessed will remain forever in my heart. He demonstrated just what it means to be a local member and to be a living entity within the community. It has been honour to work with Ian, as it will be an honour to work with Helen in the future.

    The Hon. JOHN RYAN [11.00 p.m.], by leave: The sudden passing of our former colleague Ian Glachan on 20 April was a tremendous shock. I had been speaking to him here in this Parliament not two weeks before. On that occasion I had the chance for a quick chat with Ian and he surprised me by telling me that he had been recently elected mayor of the newly created Greater Hume Shire Council. It was obvious that he was full of enthusiasm and vision for his new position. Ian Glachan lived to serve, and service to his family, his community and his country were constant themes in his life. He was kind and selfless; he was humble and honest. I am proud to say that I drew inspiration from the manner in which he conducted himself while he was a member of Parliament. Most of all, I admired the manner in which he expressed his obvious and strong Christian faith, which influenced so much of what he did.

    In addition, I much admired the manner in which he expressed his love for his family, particularly towards his wife, Helen, his daughters, Jane, Alice, Ann, and his grandchildren. He spoke about them to many of us frequently and fondly. He met Helen when she was only 14 years and he was only 16 years. Their marriage was a wonderful romance and a close partnership. While Ian served in the New South Wales Parliament they worked as a team. Helen is as well known to us as Ian was because, despite the distance they lived from Sydney, she was frequently in Sydney, by his side, joining him in his duties and carving out an involvement in the Liberal Party family for herself. I cannot imagine how Helen has endured his loss and she, in particular, has been frequently in the thoughts and prayers of my wife, Alexandra, and me in the last few weeks.

    Ian was also the sort of grandfather that any child would want to have, and this could not have been better expressed than by his grandson Fergus Little at his funeral when Fergus said that his Grandpa always listened to what he had to say and that "he was the best friend a boy could ever have". Ian loved the simple things of life. He lived such a full and interesting life. He was a member of the Air Force, a marine engineer, an officer in the Merchant Navy, a farmer and a newsagent, before being elected to Parliament. He was always full of good stories. I can remember him reliving memories of his childhood as we ate meals with colleagues together in the Strangers Dining Room. They included his adventures of scaling the fence at the Sydney Cricket Ground to get a free look at the cricket. He said his mother would give him some lunch and he would hang around the gate with his friends until the old fellows on the turnstiles let them sneak in. He had fond memories of seeing the cricketing prowess of Don Bradman and Keith Miller.

    Ian had plenty of personal achievements during his parliamentary career, including the new Albury Base Hospital; a new police station; a new school at Jindera; a hall for the school at Lavington; a new bridge over the railway line at Borella Road that replaced an old, single-lane wooden bridge; and, of course, his service as Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee. But none was as great as his achievement of conducting himself with dignity, humility and grace during the 15 years of his parliamentary service. In a profession noted for being rough and tumultuous, no-one can recall him ever making a personal attack on anyone. Like all of us in this place, he always had an opinion but he never slaughtered anyone with it. He was as capable of listening as he was of speaking. I always appreciated the manner in which he encouraged younger members of Parliament to strive and succeed.

    One of the many memories I have of Ian was a conversation he had with some of us in the dining room about his garden. On this occasion he told some of us that over the weekend he had apparently selected his final resting place on his property in Albury. While some may think this was an odd topic of conversation for lunch, it demonstrated his fundamental practicality, his confidence about life, and the inevitability of our own passing. Ian had a strong Christian faith and I was privileged to share that with him as we participated from time to time in the Parliamentary Christian Fellowship.

    In his final speech to the Parliament he expressed his gratitude for the grace he had received from God, through no merit of his own, and for the great gift of faith that allowed him to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. On behalf of my wife, Alexandra, I express my profound sympathies to Helen, his daughters, their families and his grandchildren. I cannot imagine the extent of their pain in so suddenly losing him. However, I am confident, as I am sure Ian was confident, that he is currently abiding in a better place with his Lord. I can only offer to the family the comfort we can receive from the Word of God when we read chapter 8 of the Book of Romans, which, edited for brevity, states:

    Our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us... And we know that all in things God works for the good of those who love Him … Who shall separate us from the love of Christ... No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

    I hope that Helen and her family experience that love of Christ as they proudly remember the memory of our former colleague Ian.

    The Hon. PATRICIA FORSYTHE [11.06 p.m.], by leave: When Ian Glachan made his first speech in the other place on 3 June 1988 he remarked that the strength of the United States of America lay not in its big cities but in its rural areas. He said that what was needed in New South Wales was cities of 100,000, 200,000 or 300,000 across the State. His vision for Albury was for a strong, vibrant city. He showed his pride in Albury and its designation as a growth centre. Ian was a great ambassador for Albury and a great ambassador for what we, as members of Parliament, do in our day-to-day interaction with the community.

    Ian was a caring and compassionate person whose strong Christian faith and values underpinned his approach to his work and to life in general. He was outstanding in his pastoral role as a member of Parliament. Frequently I advised new Liberal parliamentarians to spend a day with Ian in his electorate and watch how he worked. Ian seemingly knew everyone in Albury and they knew him. When Ian walked along the streets he engaged in conversation with everyone he passed. I recall on one visit that, as we alighted from his car in front of his electorate office, a car pulled alongside us and Ian, not knowing the driver, immediately introduced himself. He regarded it as his role to know everyone and to be known. Therefore, his community knew that at all times he was approachable.

    Ian Glachan sought election to Parliament in the 1984 State election and, although unsuccessful, stood out as a candidate to retain. As Ian was a newsagent in the city of Albury who worked with his wife, Helen, he was therefore well placed to maintain the community profile that is essential to win a seat such as Albury. Nick Greiner sought and gained the support of the State executive of the Liberal Party for an early selection and endorsement. The campaign that Ian commenced with Helen before the 1984 election became a seamless process to the 1988 election.

    Ian was elected in 1988 and re-elected in 1991, 1995 and 1999. In 2003 he chose not to stand. It would be wrong to say that he chose to retire, because, firstly, he remained active in the Liberal Party and, most recently, he successfully stood for the newly constituted Great Hume Shire Council. Despite, or perhaps because of, not having previously been a councillor, unlike the other candidates, he gained the second highest vote, and just weeks prior to his death he was elected the shire's first mayor.

    Ian was committed to his local community in all that he did. Beyond politics and his beloved family of Helen and his daughters Jane, Alice, Ann and their families, and his mother, Gladwyn, he was an active member of the Anglican Church, particularly in Jindera, where he was involved in the restoration of the church. Ian was a Paul Harris Fellow in Rotary, secretary of a committee for the establishment of Trinity Anglican College, and Chairman of the Mercy Hospital building appeal, to name but some of his activities in Albury. However, his family was always the centre of his universe. I well remember the many discussions we had about his daughters and his grandchildren.

    Ian's grandson Fergus showed something of Ian's love for his grandchildren during his wonderful tribute at the funeral for his beloved grandfather. Ian and Helen were a strong team, in business, in politics and, of course, as parents and grandparents. Ian Glachan was a person of the highest integrity, a true gentleman whose style and personality was the antithesis of the media portrayal of members of Parliament. Ian Glachan was listened to when he stood up in our party room. He commanded respect for his no-nonsense, commonsense approach. His voice was soft but his message was always compelling. His sudden death leaves an enormous void in his family and the Albury community. To Helen, Jane, Alice, Ann, Gladwyn, and his whole family, thank you for lending him to us from 1988 to 2003. My deepest sympathy to each of you. Vale, Ian Glachan.

    The Hon. CHARLIE LYNN [11.12 p.m.], by leave: I shall speak about my colleague and very good friend Ian Glachan. I offer my condolences and sympathies to his wife, Helen, and his family. Indeed, it was probably because of Ian and Helen's two votes about eight years ago that I am here tonight. So I will be eternally grateful to them. Ian Glachan was an absolutely impeccable role model for young conservative people joining the Liberal Party. From humble beginnings, Ian represented everything that this great party stands for. He started his life from humble working-class beginnings as an apprentice fitter and turner. Then over the years he became a marine engineer, a sailor, a farmer, a small businessman, a shire councillor and a member of Parliament.

    Ian was a proud servant of his community and he received Rotary's highest award, the Paul Harris Fellowship. He was a justice of the peace. He was an active member of the Anglican Church. If he were here with us today he would be labelled with the new term that is used for people like Ian: the religious right. Ian would have worn that badge proudly. He was active in the Mercy Hospital. The thing I really liked about Ian was that people never had any doubt about what he stood for: those enduring Christian values. His family was his world, and he would do anything he could to support the family unit. He was a champion for a safe community, for people having the same opportunities he had, and for encouraging them, through his work in the community, to make the most of those opportunities.

    In the Liberal Party room Ian Glachan stood out as a man of high integrity. Everybody knew his views. He felt strongly about them, and he also felt strongly about what many see as the social progression issues of the time. He argued strongly against many of them in the party room. No-one in our party room ever had any doubt about where Ian was coming from or what he stood for. However, Ian was so honest and forthright that, having made his contribution to the discussion, he always had the respect of those who supported his argument and those who did not. When he came out of the party room, that was it for Ian. There was no further comment because he saw himself as a loyal servant of our great party and he always put the interests of the party ahead of his own personal view. Indeed, when he came out of the party room he supported the views of the leader and the team.

    Others have spoken about Ian in his community. I also had the great pleasure of enjoying the hospitality of Ian and Helen during a couple of visits to Albury. Walking around that community, I saw the high regard that people had for him. It was the same regard that we had for him in the party room. Ian was taken from us too early; I think he deserved a little more time with his family, particularly his grandchildren. He loved everybody and everybody loved him. He is a great loss.

    I was in Papua New Guinea when Ian passed away, and when I returned I had an email saying he had gone. I could not believe it. It was a great shock. I can only express my profound sympathy to Helen and his family because it will take them a long time to come to terms with their loss. But within the Liberal Party and his community he will be long remembered as a great man. As I said, he will be a role model for young people: when they commit to doing something in Australia they can do it. If they work hard, have good values, are honest, keep their integrity intact, and have strong Christian beliefs they can achieve greatness, as Ian Glachan did. I express my profound sympathy to Helen and his family.

    The Hon. DAVID CLARKE [11.18 p.m.], by leave: The passing of Ian Glachan, formerly the member for Albury, is a loss deeply felt by members of the Liberal Party, as well as many, many others. He was a convinced believer and he was a true believer in the good and noble values and ideals that our great party epitomises. He upheld our party in good times and not so good times, and always loyally and with steadfastness. It is providential that he came to represent the seat of Albury in this Parliament because it was in the city of Albury that the Liberal Party was founded some 60 years ago by Robert Gordon Menzies. And like the founder of our party, Ian represented it with integrity and distinction. A visit to Albury will surely demonstrate to anyone the affection and regard with which he was held.

    Ian Glachan was a committed Christian and he demonstrated genuine Christian charity and goodness in the conduct of his life and in his dealings with all who came in contact with him. He never sought aggrandisement; to the contrary, he was known for his humility and likewise for his trustworthiness. Ian had deeply held convictions and expressed them in a forthright and direct manner, but always with good grace. He loved Australia and was committed to its constitutional heritage and wanted good things for its people. In his married life with his dear wife, Helen, he exemplified what a joyful and wonderful institution marriage was meant to be.

    He was succeeded as member for the State seat of Albury by Greg Aplin, who, in his own life, mirrors the good and decent Christian and family values held by Ian. Ian would be well content that service to the people of Albury is so admirably carried on by Greg. Likewise, his legacy continues through his devoted wife, Helen, who now serves as a member of the Liberal Party's State Executive—the highest administrative forum of the party. He would be looking down and taking great pride in that. So many in our community are grateful for the life lived by Ian Glachan. His life of goodness and his many achievements will always have a special place in the annals of the Liberal Party. He is now in the loving and compassionate care of our heavenly Father.

    The Hon. DON HARWIN [11.22 p.m.], by leave: It has been a long night for the Glachan family, so I will be brief. We are certainly privileged to have members of the Glachan family seated in the gallery as we speak. It was my honour to represent my colleagues at Ian's funeral in Albury recently. The depth of his contribution to Albury and to the State was clear to everyone who was there that day at the celebration of his life. I thank you, Madam Deputy-President, the officers of the House, Hansard and Government and crossbench colleagues. As honourable members are aware, we do not have in our standing orders provision for condolence motions, so we speak by leave on such matters in the adjournment debate. Ian was a man of great faith, and the Bible talks about the fruits of faith and of the spirit. In conclusion I reflect on a passage, as my colleague the Hon. John Ryan reminds me, from Galatians 5:22:

    … the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness …

    In his parliamentary life, probably more than any other colleague I have served with, Ian was evidence of the truth of that passage, and that is how I will remember him.

    The Hon. HENRY TSANG (Parliamentary Secretary) [11.23 p.m.], by leave: On behalf of the Government I join with other members in expressing sympathy to the family of Ian Glachan on his passing. Anyone who has served country New South Wales as well as Ian Glachan did should receive the respect of the Opposition and the Government.

    Motion agreed to.
    The House adjourned at 11.24 p.m. until Thursday 9 June 2005 at 10.00 a.m.