MOTION OF CONDOLENCE
Death of Mr R. J. Hinze
Hon. W. K. GOSS (Logan—Premier, Minister for Economic and Trade Development and Minister for the Arts) (10.18 a.m.), by leave: I move—
"(1) That this House desires to place on record its appreciation of the services rendered to this State by the late Russell James Hinze, Esquire, a former member of the Parliament of Queensland and Minister of the Crown.
(2) That Mr Speaker be requested to convey to the widow and family of the deceased gentleman the above resolution, together with an expression of the sympathy and sorrow of the members of the Parliament of Queensland in the loss they have sustained."
History will record Russ Hinze as one of Queensland's best-known politicians. His career in public life spanned almost four decades, first in local government in the 1950s and 1960s, and then in State Government from 1966 to 1988. He was known as a forthright politician not just throughout Queensland but throughout Australia. Russ Hinze was born at Oxenford in June 1919. He died last month, in June 1991, aged 72. Apart from his early years, he spent a life-time living and working in the Oxenford area, where he was born. Russ Hinze was a dairy-farmer who, after becoming chairman of the South Coast Cooperative Dairy Association, was elected to the Albert Shire Council in the early 1950s. He served as shire chairman for nine years between 1958 and 1967.
In 1966, Russ Hinze entered the State political arena as the member for South Coast, representing the then Country Party. After eight years as a backbench member of the coalition Government, he was promoted to Cabinet and quickly established a high profile as a hard-working and competent Minister. Between 1974 and 1987, he was Minister for Local Government and Main Roads. As well, from 1980 to 1987, he was Minister for Racing. In addition, between 1980 and 1982, he was Minister for Police, a portfolio allocation which earned him the commonly known title of Minister for Everything. In 1988, Mr Hinze resigned from State Parliament. He was also a former chairman of the Gold Coast Trotting Club, a member of the Local Government Association executive and a member of the Gold Coast Hospitals Board. As a result of his long ministerial career, Mr Hinze was directly known by many thousands of people across the entire State. He will be long remembered in many arenas—in local government, in Main Roads, in the racing industry, in his own party, in this House and in political circles generally, in the media and in the mind of the public. On behalf of the Government, I offer sympathy to his wife and family members on his passing.
Hon. T. J. BURNS (Lytton—Deputy Premier, Minister for Housing and Local Government) (10.21 a.m.): I join with the Premier in offering my condolences to the family of Russ Hinze and to give old Russ a send-off. In many ways, he was one of the great characters of this place. Russ and I had many fights, some of them bitter. But I liked the old bastard. I cannot say it any other way. I am sure that he would appreciate my saying it that way.
After years of service to local government as chairman of the Albert Shire, Russ entered Parliament and eventually became a Minister. My first recollection of him is as a backbencher in this Chamber who would squeal when he was not allowed to ask a question. When he could not ask a question during question-time, he would bellow like a stuck bull. When that occurred, he tried to take the Speaker on. When he became a Minister, that experience stood him in good stead. He was prepared to answer questions thoroughly and to be helpful. Over the years, at a time when Joh was making life very difficult for us in Opposition—especially when we had 11 members—it was very difficult to operate. In those days, many Ministers would not have anything to do with Opposition members. On matters of concern in the electorate, we were lucky if we received a reply from them by letter. In those difficult times, we could always go to the bar with Russ and have a yarn about the matter with him. On many occasions, he would try to help.
As I said, Russ was one of the great, colourful characters of post-war politics in this State. He was a real larrikin with a down-to-earth wit and an unconventional approach to Government matters. He liked his knockabout, rough diamond image and was never slow to throw the occasional Australian adjective into his conversation. Colourful characters are disappearing from this Parliament, and it is a shame. I refer to people such as Johnno Mann, Kev Hooper and Gordon Chalk. Over the years, the Gold Coast has produced a few colourful characters such as Bruce Small, who was a member of Parliament with Russ, and Ron McAuliffe, about whom I will shortly tell a story. In many ways, Russ was a cartoonist's dream. The best cartoon of him was the one that showed him as a bulldog. I saw him on television describing why he would rather be a bulldog than a mouse, but he was shown as a bulldog with dark glasses and a white cane outside a casino and brothel in the Valley that had a flashing neon light, saying he did not know there were any there. If I remember Russ in times gone by, I will remember that cartoon.
Russ was always the centre of controversy. Those of us who were around in those times will remember that he was often in trouble. Once he was recalled by Joh from a ministerial jaunt around the Caribbean and the blue grass plains of Kentucky. He always blamed me for that. Because I whinged in the paper about that trip, I can probably take some credit for his having to come back. On another occasion, he had to come back from a ministerial visit to the New Zealand yearling sales.
I come from a school that says that you do not kick a man when he is down, you do not attack a man after he dies, and you do not try to score off his death. I am not trying to score off Russ by saying some of these things today; I am just trying to recall some of the times that we had and a bit of the fun that was associated with them. I refer, for instance, to his milk quotas. I always attacked him over his pub. I said that he built a four-lane highway through his own bottleshop down at Oxenford. He used to respond by saying, very simply, "Listen Burnsie, if you don't do something in your electorate or near your own place, you're a lazy bludger; if you do, you are looking after yourself. You will find that out when you get into the Ministry." I think that is probably right. Russ once related to the Parliament how he told Joh, "Give the boundaries to me, and we'll never lose." I said to him afterwards, "You don't believe that, do you?", and he said, "Of course I do; who wants to be on the other side." I agree with him on that point, too. In the Government party room, during a debate about dingoes killing sheep——
Opposition members interjected.
Mr BURNS: Listen closely to this. In the Government party room, during a debate about dingoes killing sheep, the former Liberal member for Salisbury, Rosemary Kyburz, suggested that dingoes should be castrated. Hinze's response—and I have cleaned it up a bit—was, "They're killing the sheep, love, not stuffing them." In 1971, whilst still on the back bench, Hinze was part of a plot within the Country Party parliamentary wing to topple Bjelke-Petersen that failed only through the votes of Joh himself and two proxies. Others in the attempted coup included Mike Ahern, who became Premier; Jim Houghton, who became Speaker; Bill Lonergan, who became Speaker; and Sir David Nicholson, who became Speaker. The weak so-and-sos who did not help him should have learned a lesson from that; all of those who helped in that coup attempt did very well afterwards.
Hinze was one of Queensland's largest owners of recehorses and trotters. His best known horse was Waverley Star. Some honourable members will remember that he thought it was great when he sent it off to race in the Japan Cup. It won a number of classics. Hinze was the creator of the Canals Act. These days, people can argue about the canals on the Gold Coast, but the physical shape of the Gold Coast was really changed by Russ Hinze. He was very much a Minister who made decisions. In the late 1960s, when the Liberal ginger group was hungry to take control of the coalition, Hinze's seat of South Coast was a prime target. This was when he and I started to fight. In 1969, he stunned the coalition by doing a one-out preference deal with the Labor Party, with Russ to get our preferences and the ALP, not his Liberal partners, to get his preferences if he ran third. I was the ALP State Secretary at that time, and through the party machine I had allocated our preferences to the Liberal Party. On the night that the party policy speech was to be delivered at the Park Royal, I was called in by the Executive. Hinze and McAuliffe had done a deal, and the preferences were changed. The members of his party went off their brains—everyone went off their brains! He had conned his party at that time, and he organised it through that old schemer Ron McAuliffe. They were great mates. There is no doubt that Russ Hinze had a bit of a say in getting McAuliffe into the Senate.
Russ Hinze's famous Christmas parties are another thing to remember. The violinist from the Heidelberg Restaurant was always present. Those days are gone. I would like to have seen some of the bills for some of those Christmas parties. Russ Hinze used to sing out of tune songs. Do those who were there remember? He was the world's worst singer.
Mr Turner: You have never heard me.
Mr BURNS: Then I should say the world's second worst singer. Russ Hinze presided over an era of controversy that included the setting up of the Racing Development Fund, ministerial rezonings, and the licensing of Jupiters Casino. But in my mind, he will be remembered as the Minister who closed the Albion Park sand track to racing and built the Albion Park trotting track. He was an outspoken critic of SP betting, but there are emergencies when we all have to compromise our principles. I am told that during one trip to Adelaide such an emergency occurred when Russ Hinze's press secretary got a hot tip on a horse and the only way they could bet on it—the TAB was closed—was by betting SP. The horse won at 9 to 2. Thus, although he was a bit critical of SP bookies, he was willing to use them when he needed to.
I want to make a final point about Russ Hinze. He helped me in my electorate. As honourable members know, it used to be hard to get a Minister to come to one's electorate to give the schoolchildren a holiday. I have told the following story a few times and I should put it on the record for Russ Hinze because he had his version of it. If he were here today, he would get his story in before me. One day in the bar, I said to him, "Listen, Russo, nobody ever comes down to my electorate and gives the kids a holiday. What about giving them a holiday?" He said, "I'll come on Thursday". We started at quarter to 9. By about quarter to 10, we had given half the schools in the electorate a holiday. At 10 o'clock, we were in the bar of the Hemmant and he tried to give the barmaids a holiday. We went from there to the other schools in the electorate. By lunch-time, we were at the Colmslie Hotel. The meatworkers were there and he shouted the biggest shout I had seen for a while. He stood at the corner of the bar and sang the Red Flag. Then he asked me what sort of a mean so-and-so I was. We went to my place. I only had one bottle of Scotch in the place; a bottle of good malt Scotch that I had brought back from overseas. He proceeded to demolish that in fine style. We went from my place to the Cannon Hill Bowls Club, where again he shouted those at the bar for a couple of hours. We ended up in the sauna underneath the Gabba cricket ground and with towels around us had our photo taken by the Sunday Sun. People can imagine my skinny little body sitting next to him. That photo appeared in a few Christmas cards.
Before the action groups and the green campaigns began in my area, we were fighting A. J. Bush and the tanneries about the smell. It was very hard to get a decision made on that problem, but on three occasions, on behalf of my electorate, I expressed thanks to him. One was when tannery effluent was prohibited from being dumped into Bulimba Creek. I must say that I set Russ up. When I got there, he was standing on the hill near his car. Three hundred angry housewives pushed their prams down the road, blockaded him and said, "You will go into the creek if you don't clean it up." He agreed with Brian Walsh, who was the mayor at that time, that it should be cleaned up, and it was. On another occasion, when the building of a sewerage plant near Iona College was being discussed, he sat on the verandah of the school with Father Sherman, the priest in charge, who said to him, "You cannot put it here." Russ said, "We won't", and they did not. When the big fight was on over a chlorine plant, again near Iona College, I took him down there again. On that occasion, Russ Hinze again said, "No, we won't put it here", and he did not.
In those days, he was the only Minister who, if one went to him and asked him to do something, and if one was trying to put something over him, he would say, "Listen, what are you trying to pull?" As one left, one could say to the deputation that they had no chance. But if he did say he would try to do something, he would—and he followed it up. On many occasions after we left Ministers, they would say that they would get their advisers to look into the matter, and we would know that that meant we had lost. Russo never acted like that. He was fair dinkum in that way. I have called him an old crook to his face all his life. I do not withdraw those remarks about him at all, and I am sure that he would not want me to do so. But I always said that he was a good bloke, and if I had to have a fight somewhere I would rather have a bloke like him behind me than some of the others on his side. I am sorry to see him go, and I am sorry about the way he went.
Mr COOPER (Roma—Leader of the Opposition) (10.31 a.m.): On behalf of the Opposition, I endorse the motion moved by the Premier and supported by the Deputy Premier. As usual, I concur with most of the remarks of the Deputy Premier, whom I believe depicted very well many of the actions of people who have passed from this place to another world. It is not been much different with Russ Hinze. I am aware, as everybody in this place is, that Russ did not necessarily hit it off with everyone, and he certainly had his enemies. Some are on this side of the House as well as on the other side of the House and throughout the State. But that happens. I guess that if a person is friends with everyone, he is really not much of a person. That does not mean to say that on every occasion Russ was right, but he made a massive contribution to this State, and that is the area to which I wish to devote my remarks.
When I first entered this Parliament in 1983-84, Russ was the first Minister to whom I had to lead a deputation. I was brand-spanking new and I had to take a deputation of councillors from the Bauhinia and Bungil Shires to meet Russ. I had heard all these stories about what he was like when you led a deputation to him, and it was with fear and trepidation that I went to see him. I was told I was lucky to get to see him. It was often said that if he would not see you, you had no hope, but that when he said he would see you, you had a fair chance of achieving success in overcoming your problem.
My particular problem at that stage concerned funding for a road that linked Bauhinia Shire with Bungil Shire. We went armed with great loads of documentation and submissions, and the first thing he did was to say to get them out of the so-and-so road. I wondered what on earth we had struck. So did some of the people who accompanied me. Then he said, "Okay, who is going to speak?" One of the shire clerks rose to his feet and made his statement. Then I heard some of the most colourful language that I ever heard flow from Russ. I wondered why, but this was just the way the man did business. I had to take the poor shire clerk out later, shout him a drink and put him back together. Suffice it to say, we were successful. This does mean that he was unconventional. That is no great sin, even though today we have to be frightfully careful, because the moment we go outside the book, we know we are in real trouble. We have to remember that we are politicians. We represent people and, as such, there is no book that we can necessarily follow, because when we are representing people, at times, we have to be a little unconventional.
Russ was frequently provocative on many issues, as has been pointed out, but I want to endorse him as one of Queensland's greatest Ministers—probably one of the greatest Ministers this State has seen this century. He was a great worker, and he certainly enjoyed himself. I always admire people who can actually do the job and yet continue to enjoy themselves, withstanding the brickbats that come their way. He certainly got bouquets as well, and he was a good administrator. Most people will say that Russo got things done, and he did. He left his mark in Queensland in the area of development, as has been pointed out. He became the Minister for Everything, and he became the colossus of roads. He gave marked support to local government. I do not think he really appreciated seeing the Local Government Department subjugated and given non-departmental status. I think he would have fought hard to have Local Government remain as a department in its own right.
Russo recognised that local government is important to the people, being the closest level of government to them, and because of that it has a tremendous amount to offer this State. Under his stewardship roads underwent a massive transformation. I know that in some areas of the State roads were in a shocking condition until the early 1960s. If there was a cloud in the sky, people simply could not go out onto the roads. A lot of those problems have been attended to. A great deal of money has been expended across the State, and not just in one particular sector. Russ will be commended and remembered for that in many parts of the State.
Similarly, in the racing area he was also controversial. He was the bane of the Treasurer's responsibility in that area. He certainly spent some money on the racing industry, but those funds were spent in racing development and in providing in many areas facilities that simply needed to be provided in order to help weld the communities in those areas together. Often the improvements to racecourses meant that people had a focal point, not just for racing but for community interest. The races were a great social outing, where people could come together. People who know what it is like to live west of the Great Divide will know what I am talking about and will know that that was money well spent.
I do not believe there is any need to go into any of the legal matters surrounding Russ Hinze, because as he himself believed, and as we believe, anyone is innocent until proven guilty, and in that context we can all say that Russ died an innocent man. I am sure, anyway, that he would have cleared his name. So let us leave it at that.
As has been pointed out, Russ Hinze was a member of this Parliament for 22 years. That is a very long time. Others have been here longer, but 22 years is a long time to give service to the people of one's State. He spent 14 years as a senior Cabinet Minister. As I have said, he made his mark. He was 71 years of age when he died. He left school during the 1930s Depression, and was brought up on a dairy farm. Others have had that background. It was the making of Russ because, as I have said before, not everyone is able to go to university. He certainly came through the university of hard knocks and that was and often is the making of a man.
In 1952, Russ Hinze was elected to the Albert Shire Council, and from 1958 to 1967 he was shire chairman. He was also greatly involved in the dairying industry and became chairman of directors of the South Coast Cooperative Dairy Association. He held many other positions with the milk industry. He was a member of the executive of the Local Government Association and a member of the Gold Coast Hospitals Board.
As I said before, racing was one of his greatest interests. He was involved greatly with the pacing industry. No doubt, when he became Racing Minister, he was going to be accused of having vested interests and so on. However, I think he demonstrated quite clearly right across the board that all of the racing industry received very close attention. He made the racing industry's facilities very comfortable and very accessible to punters. Anyone who looks back and sees how much the facilities have changed would agree that it is now an absolute pleasure to attend the races, whether or not one has a bet.
Anyone who knows the racing industry well would recall that one of Russ Hinze's horses was Our Waverley Star. In 1986, that horse ran second to Bone Crusher in the W.A. Cox Plate. Racing analysts have described that race as one of the greatest of our time. No doubt those who saw the race would be able to vouch for that. Innumerable stories will be told here today about Russ Hinze, the colourful side of him and the side of him that was so constructive and made so much of a difference to so many people's lives throughout the State. I agree with the Deputy Premier's remarks that Russ Hinze was able to cross the bounds between political parties and be accepted all round.
Russ Hinze was known as a beer belly judge. I have seen photographs of him sitting with others who were quite portly. He was a bloke who was quite happy to make some fun of himself as well as of others. All of us have heard the story—whether it is true or not, I am not sure—of the occasion on which he was pulled up for speeding. The young policeman became quite officious. Russ Hinze stepped out of his car, pulled out a road map, laid it across the bonnet of the car and said to the police officer, "This State is a very big place, my young man. Now, where would you like to go?" I am not saying that that policeman let him off; I am not saying that the policeman was sent to Birdsville; I am citing it as an illustration of the sort of jovial fellow that Russ Hinze was. I have no doubt that that policeman will never forget that incident. Russ Hinze was also very forthright in his description of those who broke the law. He used to say that cattle-duffers should be shot first and asked questions later. He had similar views on other matters, which I will leave others to elaborate on.
On behalf of people in the National Party, the Opposition and others in the State, I place on record that Russ was a devoted and loving father. Russ was a very decisive administrator. He was a very talented judge of horses, a very talented judge of people and he was also a man of the people. I remember his words quite some months ago, when he was afflicted with the illness that caused his death, that he had been sentenced, and sentenced by the Lord. I say again that Russ died an innocent man. May he rest in peace. We extend our sincere condolences to his wife, Faye, to all of his family and to all of his friends.
Mr BEANLAND (Toowong—Leader of the Liberal Party) (10.42 a.m.): On behalf of members of the Liberal Party, I rise to support the motion moved by the Government and offer our condolences to the Hinze family. Much of Russ Hinze's background has already been placed on the record. Various words have been used to describe Russell. He was known as a Minister who "got things done". People certainly knew where they stood with him, particularly in relation to matters involving the portfolio of Local Government, Main Roads and Racing—three areas in which Russell lent his great support and about which he had a great deal of knowledge, background and history. All of us know of his love of racing and the work that he ensured was carried out on the racecourses of this State. I know that he was a great friend of local government. Other members have outlined the work that he did in relation to improving main roads in this State. I believe that even his most bitter critics regarded him as an effective Minister. He has been described variously as a rogue, a description that he and his friends would deny. He has been described as a likeable larrikin and a rough diamond with a heart of gold. He was an extremely able and hard-working Minister of the Crown. I do not think any of us would deny that.
Certainly, Russell kept the media occupied. He did that in a number of ways, not only by his controversy and colour but also with the great Christmas parties that he had. Perhaps in many quarters Russ was best known for his big Christmas parties. At such parties, he made the guests sing Christmas carols and he made everyone join in and feel part of the fun and the games. They were the sort of Christmas parties that we have not seen in recent times.
Recently, Jim Henry, who used to compile the obituaries for Queensland Newspapers for the day on which they were needed, wrote of Russ Hinze that he was "a warm hearted, jovial, straight-talking, crusading farmer-politician who wasn't afraid to call a spade a spade". That is a very apt description of Russ Hinze. He was one of the most colourful and controversial Ministers, known Australiawide as well as overseas, that this State has ever known. That is an illustration of the flair that Russell had. Recently, I noticed in some press clippings a report from Tokyo which stated—
"In the same room yesterday, I saw a Gulf oil sheik, a Japanese princess—and Mr Russ Hinze."
They were watching a race. It was probably appropriate for Russell Hinze to be sitting with people from around the globe watching a horse race which was no doubt one of the major horse races in Japan.
It was very sad to see Russ' career end in controversy and in such a way that he did not have the opportunity to clear his name in court, which I know he so dearly wished to do. Queensland Liberals join with other members of the Chamber in extending to Russ Hinze's wife and family our deepest sympathies.
Mr BORBIDGE (Surfers Paradise—Deputy Leader of the Opposition) (10.45 a.m.): It gives me great pleasure indeed to endorse the remarks made by honourable members today as we remember Russell Hinze and the very substantial contribution he made to public life in Queensland, and in particular to this Parliament. It is probably a little sad that, because of the large influx at the last election, so many members of this House today never had the experience of seeing Russell Hinze in action not only as a Minister during question-time and as a participant in debate but also, as the Deputy Premier said, as an extremely competent Minister who had the enormous potential and capability of walking and talking his way through problems.
I can remember many a dispute and a number of warring parties when Russ Hinze would get people in the room and sort out their differences. I served with him in the period 1980-88, not just in Parliament but also in the electorate. The electorates of Surfers Paradise and South Coast adjoined. In 1980, we had a very interesting campaign down there. It was a bit of a stoush between the Liberal Party and the National Party. The late Doug Jennings and I entered this place then. On that occasion I think Russell Hinze ended up with seven or eight candidates against him in the South Coast electorate. One can imagine the intrigue that was going on over preferences. As was Russell's norm, he managed to save the day, to come through against the odds in that particularly difficult and colourful election campaign.
Although in later years I did not have the contact with Russell that I had with him earlier in my parliamentary career, I had enormous respect for his administrative ability. He was very much the father of the modern Gold Coast, through his involvement with the Albert Shire as chairman, as member for South Coast and then ultimately as a senior member in the Cabinet. Over those years, he played a key role in the unprecedented level of economic development we saw right throughout this State in the late 1970s and 1980s. As other members have indicated, he was a colourful and controversial politician of the old school. He was a man of immense power and influence, but one of his great strengths was his very great affinity with the underdog. Someone who was down and out could come up to him in the street and he would fix that person's problems. I remember that one Christmas he created a problem for me in my electorate because he had met a lady who was a retailer in Surfers Paradise and who had a particular town-planning problem. That particular town-planning problem was sending her to the wall. On that occasion Russell managed to sort out her problem. In the meantime, he managed to create some problems for other people. That was the sort of man he was. He had an enormous affinity with people in distress. Very often the image that I guess came through, partly because of his physical stature, was quite different from the reality.
This Parliament has gone through many changes and always will. As the Deputy Premier indicated, Russell Hinze was one of the great characters to set foot in the Legislative Assembly. These days, there seems to be a sameness in the Parliament. We do not have the characters of yesteryear. Russell Hinze will go down as one of those great characters. As I indicated earlier, his contribution on behalf of the people of the Gold Coast was absolutely extraordinary. I know many people would criticise some of the decisions that were taken. At times like this we need to remember that during the period that Russell James Hinze was a senior Minister of the State Government we led Australia in terms of job creation and economic development. There was a buoyancy there that certainly was the envy of all Australia.
I extend to Faye and to the Hinze family my sincere condolences.
Hon. N. J. HARPER (Auburn) (10.51 a.m.): I join in this tribute to the late Russ Hinze and extend my personal sympathy to his family. As with the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, I served with Russ in the Parliament from 1980 to 1988. At his funeral recently, I was talking to one of his sons. He made the comment that anyone who did not like Russ really did not know him. I think that the expressions from the Deputy Premier, in particular, and from others would confirm the fact that he was a very likeable and down to earth character.
I want to record my experience of him in his capacity as a Minister. He was a very effective Minister, as has been said, and one who was prepared to make decisions. He was prepared to listen to arguments, to make his own assessments and then to make decisions. Unfortunately, all too frequently Ministers from both sides of politics are not prepared to bite the bullet or to let the buck stop at their table. Russ Hinze was. He was also prepared, in his own way, to take risks. I remember he came to a race meeting at Eidsvold. It was a small country race meeting. The nature of the man, the character of the man, was such that he recognised the importance of country race meetings. I must say that many of our better horses have their origins in country areas and have started their careers at country race meetings. I remember that on this occasion he was asked whether he could give a lady a tip for any of the southern races. Russ was prepared to put his reputation on the line and he gave the particular person a tip. He was not to know it, but the club broadcast the Russ Hinze tip for the day. That did not make him particularly popular with the book-makers because it was a good tip and it came home. He was prepared to do that sort of thing.
I join in the comments that have been made about him. I believe that this Parliament and the people of Queensland were very well served by a man who was a very competent Minister and one who was, as I say, prepared to make decisions.
Mr VEIVERS (Southport) (10.53 a.m.): I support the condolence motion today in relation to a bloke whom I regarded as a mate and a bloke who was a giant in this State's public life. Very few politicians have started in life with so little and have gone on to achieve so much for the electors and people of this State. Russ was part of a breed that has just about disappeared from public life. Basically, this House is the loser for that. It is part of the measure of the big man that his heroes included people such as Tom Aitken, Frank Nicklin, Jack Duggan, Ron Camm and Johnno Mann. There are some Labor people in that list and most members of the modern Labor Party might not like to cope with that, but that is what Russ Hinze was like. He judged the man and not the party. What mattered to Russ was how the man behaved, how hard he would fight for what he believed in and how far he ran from pretence. There was no pretence in the milko's boy from West End, in the secretary of the Coomera Cricket Club, in the wicket-keeper in the south coast rep. team, in the Coomera Shire councillor or in the Albert Shire Chairman.
There was certainly no pretence in the new member who arrived here in 1966. Johnno Mann made sure of that. Russ told the story—and I think that some members have heard it—of the old Labor bloke greeting him at the door of the Members Bar and pointing out the facts of life. "Russell," he said, "welcome." This is what Hinzey told me. He said, "It's the best club in Australia, mate. Make sure you stop here as long as you can." Here is the thing that stuck forever in the mind of Russ Hinze. The old Labor bloke said this—as far as Russ could remember—"Not all the crooks are on this side of the House, and not all the good ones are on that side. If you believe you've got more authority than me in here because you're in Government, well that's a mistake. If I can help you, boy, I will." Hinzey remembered all of that. It is probably the reason why he made so many friends across the political divides. Tom Burns mentioned that today.
Many Labor men knew Russ well. After they had clashed with him, they knew that they had been in a fight. Even my cousin, Tom Veivers—a good bloke, too—knew that. He and Russ used to have some clashes. At times, Tom would say that he was a dreadful bloke. I might add that, when I was running for preselection on the Gold Coast, I did not know anything about politics. I will get in before honourable members and say that I do not know much today, either! I was running for preselection in Nerang. They—"they" being certain people in the area—had all asked me to run. Hinzey rang up and said, "Listen, son, I will support you. You will be right, young Veivers." Anyway, I went out into the wilds of Southport and the Gold Coast and said, "Hinzey is supporting me. I'll be right now." I was wrong. It was the wrong time to say that. It was the kiss of death, but I did not know that at the time.
Many Labor men have cause to remember his kindness. Tom Burns mentioned some instances. The present Racing Minister would not have made it to the Weetwood one year without a lift from Hinzey.
I believe that Russ was something of a singer. The better ones tend to be big men. Only the good Lord could save those who went to his Christmas parties and did not sing. In his early days in this place, the singing was reserved for Joh Bjelke-Petersen. As part of his campaign for a seat at the Cabinet table, Russ would stroll past the Premier's office in Parliament House, in full voice, singing—
hear my humble cry,
oh when others thou art calling,
do not pass me by."
Ambition was important to Hinzey, and we can all be thankful for that. Joh eventually gave in. It was obvious that Russ Hinze had what it took, and in he came to the Cabinet. As we have heard today, the media liked to call him the Minister for Everything, and he was certainly the Minister for plenty of important things. At one stage, he even got off the demon fizz so that he could work harder on another portfolio that was given to him.
He was Minister for Main Roads and earned the title "Colossus of Roads". He took a keen interest in highways and rural back roads alike. He stretched the roads dollar further and kept down car registration rises. He gave the local Main Roads Department engineers a great deal of autonomy to liaise with local councils and he brought some predictability to budgets. His monuments in the portfolio—and those are monuments that the little men can never take away from him—include the Gateway Bridge, the Logan Motorway and the Gillies Highway. Hundreds of small communities out west will remember the big fellow for the bitumen sealing that makes sure that their kids get to school in wet weather. Local government leaders remember Russ Hinze for receiving a knowledgable hearing and being given a fast, firm decision. He was renowned for sitting people down at a table and getting agreement on the spot. It was part of the Hinze management style.
Russ was the man who pioneered the idea of giving black people responsibility for their own destiny and a helping hand at Mornington Island and Aurukun. While the Federal Government wrung its hands and wondered, Hinzey acted. It was typical of him. I might add that that was during the Malcolm Fraser era. He was also quick to move in when the Gold Coast Council got itself into trouble. In and out with the administrators, an election in the middle and things were back on track. At that time, two of his best mates were on the council. He sacked them just as quickly as he sacked everybody else. They were Norm Rix and the late, great, Alan Hollindale. It did not mean a thing to Hinzey. Swish, out you go!
Racing, of course, was his great love and it showed in his handling of the Racing portfolio. For the first time, a Minister understood the special place that racing holds in our culture. He felt very strongly for the way in which racing developed in this nation. He used to tell me that it was a diversion for hard-working people and a community interest to be run by the people who love it. He understood that the Government should stay out of most of racing's big questions and be there just to give a helping hand.
Russ Hinze also understood that the money was for racing; it was racing money. It should go back to the racing industry. He set up the Racing Development Fund, which created a lot of problems. However, that development fund turned in a bit over $1 billion this year. He really knew what it was about. Russ Hinze had plenty of joy and despair in racing. As we have heard today, he saw his greatest horse, Waverley Star, go stride for stride from turn to post with the great New Zealand horse, Bonecrusher. It was one of the great races, as Russell Cooper has already said. Russ Hinze saw $300,000 flutter out of the lens of the photo-finish camera that decided which horse had won. He loved that horse so much that he buried him in front of his home at Coomera. Russ was Police Minister for a long time. He knew that all was not right and set about in his usual fashion to put it right. He admitted that there was a problem with prostitution and other things and, at a national ministerial conference on the Gold Coast, he put up a solution which only the State of Victoria has ever adopted. We can argue about the success of that scheme, but at least he tried.
Today, I was going to talk about many things concerning Hinzey. He was a good bloke; a terrific bloke. He got things done. Yes, he cut corners, but it is a pity that today some Ministers do not cut corners and get the red tape out of the way so that things will function. Many members on the Government side of the House and many members on this side of the House may not have liked Russ, but many of them did not know him. I knew him when I was knee-high to a grasshopper. My parents knew him when he was in the factory down the coast. Throughout his whole career he was held in high esteem. The sad thing is that Hinzey did not get a State funeral because he was accused of corruption and people said that he was guilty. He never ever got to prove his innocence. That is very sad, because in this State a bloke is supposed to be innocent until proven guilty. It is an indictment on all of us that we allowed such a thing to happen. I hope that in the near future problems similar to this can be straightened out. To Faye Hinze and the whole Hinze family—and there is a big clan of them down there—I express my deep respect and condolences.
Hon. N. J. TURNER (Nicklin) (11.03 a.m.): Today, I rise to record my condolences to the family and friends of Russ Hinze. As members of Parliament, this is our opportunity to write into the records our last farewell to our old friend or foe, depending on which side of the political fence we come from.
Russ Hinze was a giant of a man, not only in stature, but also in the size of his heart, intellect and ability to sum up a situation and make decisions. There was none of this consensus Government for Russ. He believed that members were elected to govern and make decisions, however hard they may have been. He considered that being elected to govern was like being elected to captain a cricket team. The Government decides who should bowl and who should bat and does not stop half way through a match to ask the grandstand or the selectors what to do. A Government rises and falls on the decisions it makes, as does the captain of a cricket team, or as does a Minister, and if the selectors or electors are not happy then they have the right to replace the captain or the Government.
Russ Hinze's funeral was one of the largest I have ever attended, with people from all walks of life travelling vast distances to attend. I know that many other people would have liked to attend and perhaps many thousands of people throughout the length and breadth of Queensland should have travelled there to pay their last respects. This is especially so when one looks at the contribution this man made to the whole of Queensland in the areas of local government and main roads. However, I wish to dwell more on what he did for racing. When taking over the Racing portfolio, his first words were—
"No longer will this industry be used as a milking cow by Treasury. We will be putting money back into the industry to boost prize money, to build proper facilities and to bring people back to racing and in the final analysis, Treasury will be better off."
Just how much vision, guts and determination would that have taken? This mountain of a man did not just spend money at Doomben and Eagle Farm. If one looks at Albion Park, Deagon, the Gold Coast, Corbould Park—which are all world-class facilities—and just about every other centre in Queensland, whether it is out in the bush at Charleville, Wyandra, Morven, Innisfail, Isisford or wherever, one finds that Queenslanders, shire councillors, people involved in roads and racing and many other people are today reaping the benefits of this man's vision and decisions.
I know one thing; many, if not all, of his critics will have smaller funerals, even if some of them are State funerals. Today, we have heard many stories, but I will add one more. I remember talking on one occasion to Russ and remaking about one of Jim Killen's quotes relating to the media. Jim said that the media could not truthfully report a minute's silence. Russ said—
"There is no doubt about the media. They can change anything around to make the story tell a different picture." He said— "For example, one could send a message to one's wife saying, 'I'm not getting any better, come home soon.' The media would change the comma so that it would read, 'I'm not getting any, better come home soon.' "
That was the humour of the man and the love-hate type of relationship he had with sections of the media. It depressed me to see some sections of the media attack this man's credibility, integrity, honesty and principles after he had died and before he was even buried because, in his own words, he had been judged by the highest court. Derryn Hinch said on television that Hinze was nothing but a bribe-taking, evil man. It is to be hoped that Derryn Hinch will be met with more compassion when he comes before the ultimate judge. Many people believe that the media does not have a God-given right to ruin the lives and reputations of people by the stroke of a pen or by an unguarded word. The freedom of the press is a privilege. Like all privilege, it has restrictions and responsibilities, which it takes integrity to exercise. It saddens me that at times that is not apparent.
What of the article in the Sunday Sun the day after Russ passed away? It stated that as Minister for Main Roads he had put a highway through the bottle shop of his Oxenford hotel. I have driven along the Gold Coast Highway many times and I can assure all honourable members that the highway does not go through Hinze's bottle shop. Sure, there is an access road into the hotel and out again, just as there is to the other businesses in that area and just as there is an access road to the Ettamogah hotel alongside the north coast road near Buderim. I wonder who put the highway through that bottle shop? I consider that this nation would be better served if there was less of this irresponsible reporting.
I always thought that a person was presumed to be innocent until proven guilty. Is it not strange that charges were dropped against Lionel Murphy before he died and yet he was given a State funeral? Yet charges against Russ Hinze were only dropped after he was buried and he was not given a State funeral. This State is the poorer for his passing. On behalf of the people of the Warrego electorate—the area I represented for 12 years from 1974-1986—I say, "Thank you, Russ, for all that you did." During the period I was the member for Warrego, Russ was one of the most capable, competent Ministers I had the pleasure of knowing. He was a true MP—and I mean, "man of the people", not "member of Parliament".
Mr CAMPBELL (Bundaberg) (11.07 a.m.): I support the motion of condolence and join in this debate to offer my sympathy to the Hinze family. Russ was well known for being a colourful character and a man who had a sense of humour. During my five years as a member of this Parliament, I was his sparring partner over the Burnett River traffic bridge. During the whole of that period, he treated me with respect and I appreciated that very much. Russ will be remembered as a builder—a builder of roads, a builder of racetracks and a builder of grandstands. Russ was a builder, and if all members who pass through this Chamber can be remembered for being a builder in relation to housing, a better education system or a better health system, they will be better people and the State will be better for their efforts. If every member who passes through this Chamber becomes known as a builder, he or she will have served this State well.
Mr FITZGERALD (Lockyer) (11.09 a.m.): I support the motion of condolence. I join in this debate to offer my sympathy and that of my electorate to Fay and to the Hinze family, and to offer a prayer of thanksgiving for the life of Russell Hinze. This State and this nation are better off for his having been a citizen and a member of this Parliament. After a long fight against cancer, Russ succumbed to his fate. I think it was fitting that last Sunday the Terry Fox fund-raising run was held to raise funds for the fight against cancer. The members who are still a little bit sore in the legs will acknowledge that the cancer appeal requires an ongoing contribution, and I note that Fay Hinze has indicated that she will make a donation to the appeal fund.
I remember Russ mostly because of his ability as a Minister. As previous speakers have said, when a deputation was taken to him, he would look at the group and be rather thick in his gaze. He wanted to get down to business straightaway. He could not stand the long waffle of some people when they approach a Minister. He was able to quickly seize on the main issue, and his ability to do that and to come up with a practical solution was a godsend to any member who took a deputation to him. I well remember that he would also listen to members of this Parliament and say, "And what's your opinion?". I will never forget what happened when the route for the Gatton by-pass was chosen. Two routes had been proposed and in respect of the southern route, which by-passed Gatton, notices of intention to resume property had been issued. Arguments were going on for and against the proposal. I headed a deputation to him when the argument was advanced in support of the present route. He said to me, "Which route, young fellow?" He always considered me a young fellow. I said, "I prefer the long-term route. Even if it is more expensive, I would rather wait and have the proper route." That was it; the job was finished; the decision was made. He accepted my advice, and I thank him for that.
In 1983, Russ came to Helidon, which is situated at the end of the Gatton by-pass, to campaign with me. We met with the people there, and there was a photo opportunity. The people put forward the proposition to Russ that the planned route provided for no underpass and that Helidon would be divided by the road, which was to be constructed using funds provided by the Federal Government. I had explained to Russ how it was going to upset the people of Helidon and that to ensure the safety of children going from the town over to school and back again, an underpass was desperately needed. He told the engineers, "Yes, we will build an underpass." I will never forget the photo opportunity when a little lad was sitting on Russell's knee. Suddenly, he must have seen Russell as a big bad ogre, and he pulled an awful face. The photographer from the Toowoomba Chronicle was quick enough to capture the moment on film, and it was a magnificent photograph of this terrified kid looking up at big benevolent Russ who was looking down at him. I will never forget it because it captured Russ as he was. I know that the people of Helidon are thankful for what he did. They often mention to me how much they appreciate what Russell Hinze did for the town. I know that many members would have similar stories that cause them to give thanks for a Minister who was able to adopt a practical approach to solving problems.
I also had contact with Russ Hinze when I was Government Whip. When I got the job, I was tipped off by one of the previous Whips, Michael Ahern, that a Whip's job is not always easy "when you have characters like Russell Hinze around". I will not go into some of the stories of how Russ used to evade some of his duties if the trots were on and there were 11 members of the Opposition and a great majority on the Government side. Under those circumstances, it was fairly difficult to be the Whip and control a person like Russ Hinze. I also found during the latter part of my period as Whip that I would often be in contact with him in the course of my duties. I was always straightforward with members and they always knew their position. One of the things I noticed about Russ was that, in spite of being such a busy man, he had a sense of humour. He would often consult his diary. I remember one occasion when his private secretary was listing invitations and Russ was responding by saying, "No, no, no, yes, no, yes, no, no, no." Someone would say to him, "Are you available on such-and-such a date?" He would open the diary up and show them that something was written in, and he would say, "I'm sorry, I can't go." Whenever Russ had a free day, he used to write "Thank Christ" in his diary. When he would quickly open it up and show people that something was written in, that was what was written. If he needed a day off, he would show that entry too quickly for people to be able to read it. He always used to say, "Make sure you don't show anybody a blank page in your diary if you need a day off." That was an example of his humour.
I will never forget him in the joint party room because Russ always gave the impression that he was a bulldozer, a tough man who always got things done, and an uncompromising National Party member. The people who thought that did not really know him. He used to terrify me when I was a young backbencher and the Liberal Party lawyers would disagree with him. They used to be a thorn in his side. I will never forget that he used to say, "We'll sort it out." He would go outside to discuss it and he would change the rules without even coming back to the party room to ask anyone's opinion. Even when he was a Minister, he accepted an amendment moved by the Opposition because he thought it sounded fairly good. The amendment had not passed through any drafting procedure, but he accepted it from the floor of the Parliament. As a member of Parliament, I was horrified to think that that could happen, but that was typical of Russ Hinze. It sounded like a good idea, and he accepted it. That was the nature of the man.
As I said earlier, I join with other members of Parliament in offering sympathy to Fay and the Hinze family. I note that Queensland and Australia are better for the life lived by Russ Hinze, and I thank the Lord for it.
Mr RANDELL (Mirani) (11.16 a.m.): I wish to comment briefly in this motion of condolence to the family of the late Russell James Hinze. All members would agree that, with his passing, we saw the passing of a great Queenslander. Russ was big in all things—in size, in intellect, in compassion and in vision. Overall, he was a good bloke. He was a real larrikin who had a sense of humour and the capacity to get on with all people. Earlier, Tom Burns told a few stories about Russ. I can recall many stories and I will relate a couple of them. At one time, Russ visited Mackay to open a project at the racecourse. As the week-end approached, he said that he had to return to Brisbane and asked me to stand in for him at the opening. At the opening on the Saturday, I told the people present that Russ had been called back to Brisbane on urgent and important Government business and had asked me to fill in for him. On the Monday morning, we were informed that he had returned to Brisbane to marry Fay. So much for the urgent and important Government business! On another occasion, at Sarina, the Catholic men's organisation asked me to obtain a guest speaker who would liven up a particular function. I said, "What about big Russ?" The person said, "Oh, you won't get him." However, I asked Russ and he made himself available. Sarina has four hotels in the central part of the town. When Russ arrived, he said, "Let's do a bit of politicking." When one politics with Russ in bars, one must have a good constitution. At 8 o'clock that night, we ended up in the corner of a bar and Russ was surrounded by a number of ALP supporters and he was telling them yarns about fishing and horses. He was totally enjoying himself. He reached the stage at which he almost started singing. I kept urging him to go. Eventually, we pushed him out, got him in the car and drove to the hall at which the function was being held. Russ always addressed me in a similar manner to that in which he addressed Mr FitzGerald. He always called me "young fellow". He said to me, "Young fellow, why didn't you bloody tell me there were so many people here." There were 300 men waiting in the hall for him. He took a step back and I said, "What are you going to say?" He said, "I don't know." We sat in between two ministers of religion and he told the most crude joke that I had ever heard in my life. He carried on in that fashion all night. He was the hit of the season. Everyone thanked me for bringing him to the function. He had the capacity to get along with people in all his dealings. He was a great man.
Russ left a legacy of achievements throughout Queensland. When one travels throughout Queensland, one witnesses the roads and bridges that have been constructed. If Russ has not planned them, put his name on them or had something to do with them, something is wrong. He was a man who could evaluate or assess a project very quickly. Other members have stated that people would approach Russ with a project and, if they had a case, he would listen to them and quickly say, "Right, sonny, I'll do something for you." If they did not have a case worth putting forward, Russ would say, "Don't waste my time. Go away. I am not going to be in that." Those people would accept that forthright approach.
When I became a Minister, I took over Russ's portfolio of Local Government and Racing. I found that the staff, particularly those in the higher echelon, had a high regard for Russ. They knew him as a man who would make decisions and who was very loyal. The only thing that Russ ever asked of his staff was that they, in turn, be loyal to him. If anything went wrong in Russ's department, there was no way in the world that he would ever blame them. However, he expected loyalty in return. Prior to that, for many years I served on his local government committee. I found Russ Hinze as straight as a gun barrel. He was direct and good to deal with. When he was on that committee, he was prepared to make decisions and I was always very loyal to him.
When Russ was Minister for Main Roads, I was the chairman of the Broadsound Shire Council. We invited Russ to examine the Croydon road which ran over the range. Members would recall that, at that time, the infamous link between Rockhampton and Mackay would be cut by floods for up to six weeks at a time. We had great visions of killing two birds with one stone. We thought that we would construct the coastal highway, which would solve all the problems. Russ and I drove over the 30 miles of very bad road. When we reached Sarina, Russ said, "Quick, get me a beer and an Aspro. I've just been through 30 miles of purgatory." At that time, we did not get funding for that road. However, Russ was great friends with Peter Morris. Russ said to Peter, "We have got to do something about that road." As a result of that visit, we achieved the bicentennial road funding. Today, the excellent road between Rockhampton and Mackay is a monument to Russell Hinze's vision and decision-making ability.
In the racing industry throughout Queensland, Russ is held in high regard. He knew all the people in that industry. Many people have criticised the works that Russell initiated when he was the Minister for Racing. They claimed that he was responsible for erecting monuments throughout the State at tremendous cost. In my view, most of those projects were needed. If we had to build them today, they would cost six times as much as they cost at that time.
Russ was a self-made man. When he was 13, he left school to take up manual work and progressed to one of the highest positions in this State. I understand what he went through. When I was 13, I left school and started cutting cane. I know how tough it was. At that age, he started milking cows and worked his way through life. He educated himself in a practical way. He always said to me, "Beware of a man who has been educated beyond his intellectual capacity." I thank Russ Hinze for his friendship and for the courtesies he paid to me. I thank him for his assistance in the many requests that I made of him. I extend my sympathy and condolences to his friends and family.
Hon. V. P. LESTER (Peak Downs) (11.22 a.m.): The electorate of Peak Downs en masse says "Thank you" to Russ Hinze for his assistance in building that electorate and that area of the Central Highlands at a time when it was growing and needed far-reaching decisions to be made so that the area could service the needs of the increased population of today. We remember him and thank him for the roads and the bridges that he was responsible for providing, and we thank him for the efforts that he made to promote racing in the Central Highlands. We thank him for bridges over the Dawson River, the Comet River, the Nogoa River, Capella Creek and a great number of other less important streams. When heavy rain falls, those smaller streams are certainly important to people who wish to cross them. We recall great works on the Clermont-Charters Towers road and the pledge, which he kept, to provide $4m per year, a sum, unfortunately, cut in half now.
In addition, I remember the linking of the Capricorn Highway between Rockhampton and Longreach and the work Russ did in association with the then Mayor, Rex Pilbeam, in bitumening the road over the Drummond Range. It was an ultra-professional job. At the time, some people said that the job was super-professional. Today, many caravans and coaches use that road to travel to the Australian Stockman's Hall of Fame. The decision to bituminise it was the right decision. Other important decisions affecting the area include building the road from Springsure to Emerald and Clermont and the road to link Clermont and Mackay.
Racing people in the Central Highlands have asked me to express their sincere thanks to Russ Hinze. As a result of his work, we in Emerald were given a grass racetrack, which has proved to be very beneficial to the club. He improved that club's amenities in many other different ways such as improved betting facilities. On one occasion, Russ Hinze was visiting the Emerald racetrack to open one of the numerous extensions he had approved. He sat down amongst a group of young female schoolteachers. I saw them look at one another and think to themselves, "My God, what's this?" I thought one or two of them were going to get up and go. He whispered in one's ear, "Put something on the next horse." That horse won at 20 to 1. A few more people started to sit down near Russ. He selected six out of seven winners that day. Those young teachers will never forget Russ Hinze; he almost made them multimillionaires. The bookies were not too happy because the whole crowd had gathered to sit around Russ Hinze. The tips were being passed on and they were very accurate. That is an example of Russ Hinze's charisma. To a lesser extent, he did the same sort of thing in Clermont and in Capella.
I am very proud to have served with Russ in Cabinet and to have been associated with him in so many far-reaching and forward-looking decisions. He had rapport with the people of the Central Highlands. Former shire councillor Margaret Gibson, MBE, who was associated with the CQ News, Councillor Jim Turner, MBE, and Reg Garside would like to be mentioned. Russ, we are proud of what you have done. Thank you.
Hon. R. C. KATTER (Flinders) (11.26 a.m.): Tom Burns touched on a few of the stories about Russ Hinze. Unfortunately, most of the really good stories cannot be told in this place, although they were told many times last night. It is hard for people such as me to think of Russell Hinze without thinking also of Ron Camm and the job that they both did in this State. The first time that Russell Hinze visited my electorate, I told him that there was a very beautiful photographer in the town to which we were going and that he was to behave himself. He was on a very tight noose because he was in my electorate and he was to behave himself. The lady was a lovely lady, but she was very large. I do not think many people would have described her as very beautiful. When Russ Hinze arrived, he got out of the car and said, "Gee whiz, I didn't know you had beautiful sheilas in this area." He put his arm around her, gave her a big hug and said, "What are you doing tonight, love?" He never missed a beat. He had in his mind what he was going to say to the beautiful photographer, and the lady was very charmed.
The first time I went into Russ Hinze's room to speak to him, he was lying on his back, staring at the ceiling. He abused me and then said, "What do you want?" I said, "Eighty men are being laid off before Christmas and we desperately need some money because otherwise their vehicles will be taken back. They are in desperate trouble." He said, "How can I help you, young fellow?" The point I want to make is that Russ always tried to help people who went to see him. As many speakers have said, that is probably true regardless of what political allegiance one had or what commitment one had in the party room.
One incident that captured public interest occurred during a very bitter dispute between the National Party and the Liberal Party in the party room. The then Premier, Mr Bjelke-Petersen, unleashed a terrible tirade against the Liberal Party. It was so bad that I thought the Liberal Party would immediately walk out of the coalition. In the party room Russell Hinze always poured oil on troubled waters and calmed things down a bit. He got to his feet and I thought, "Thank heavens for that, because a very desperate situation will be alleviated by Russ getting up." Strangely, and out of character, instead of alleviating the situation, Russ unleashed an even worse tirade against the Liberal Party. Bruce Bishop and two or three other Liberals who were at the back of the room started shouting obscenities at Russ Hinze. Russ picked up the chair in front of him and threw it against the wall so that he could clear a passageway to Bruce Bishop. He let out a terrible string of obscenities, which I could not possibly repeat. He charged straight at Bruce Bishop. There were some seven men between them and they all lay down a la rugby league style in an attempt to stop his mad charge. As he was charging, he was rolling his sleeves up ready for action.Two of the ladies in the room burst out crying and one, Rosemary Kyburz, fled from the room. It was a dreadful and unprecedented scene.
On television that night the interviewer—I think it was Quentin Dempster—said that he understood there was some bad language used in the party room on that day. Mr Hinze, with a beatific smile on his face, said, "I don't think Bruce Bishop actually used any bad language, but he may have—I may not have heard what he said." The second point made was that there was some physical roughness, even violence. Mr Hinze said, "No, I think that a lot of people misjudge me. Sometimes I like to throw my hands around a bit when I am speaking. It was probably misinterpreted." The third point made was that both of the ladies in the room had cried and one of them had fled from the room in tears. Russ said, "I thought she was going out to report the proceedings of the party room to the press, as she always does." That was the end of the interview.
I asked Russ Hinze to name a bridge at Collinsville the Bob Brunker bridge. He asked who he was. I said that he was not an important person, that he was just an ordinary worker who had worked all his life as a labourer at Mount Isa Mines but that he had the dignity of a labourer about him. I told Russ Hinze that I thought that Bob Brunker was the sort of bloke whom Collinsville should name its bridge after, if it was going to name it after anyone. Anyway, Mr Hinze came up to open the bridge. Before we went over to the podium to start speaking, he asked who this bloke was. Again I told him that he was a worker, an old commo, that he was very committed to communist principles, not so much Labor principles. I said that he was a really nice old bloke. Russ went up to the podium, put his arms around old Bob, and insisted on Bob singing the Internationale with him. Russ knew every single verse. So, instead of giving a speech, Russ sang the Internationale.
On a serious note, at one stage dreadful problems were being experienced in regard to the haulage of livestock, which is one of the biggest industries in the State, as all stock has to be carried on trucks. All of the trucks were well over the size they should have been, and there would have been an enormous cost to the livestock hauliers if they were forced to cut back the size of those trucks. It would have been a dreadful imposition which would have bankrupted many of the operators. A less humane man would have taken the decision to in effect bankrupt the operators and impose a terrible cost burden on that industry. People from other States were coming in and undercutting our industry. The eventual decision by Russ Hinze to leave the trucks very long was roundly criticised. I think that there were some 16 speakers that day—I was not present, unfortunately—who all tore him to pieces and roundly condemned the decision that he made. I asked him why he was allowing the trucks to be so long, and he said that it related to the size of a container. He said that when the boys are not carting cattle they can do other things with their rigs. He said that he would have liked to have made them two feet shorter, but there was a compelling argument that money would be saved if the trucks were longer.
I thought that was a courageous decision, and represented what the bloke was like. I would personally like to put on record my thanks to the man, who did so much to improve the road to Charters Towers. Every year there used to be three deaths on that road. I asked him to personally come up and inspect the road, as I was getting nowhere. At the first bridge we came to, we stopped. I did not know that there were supposed to be metal strips that led up to the narrow bridges. I might add that that is where most of the deaths occurred. Russ called up the chief engineer and dressed him down as I have never heard anyone dressed down before. He asked why these barriers were missing, and how many deaths had occurred. I said that there had been 23 deaths—or whatever the case was—in seven years, and he released a string of obscenities towards this engineer. The engineer gave all sorts of reasons as to why this had happened, and Russ said, "Shut up, and get it done before this time next year, on every single one of these bridges". Since then not one death has occurred on any of these bridges—and, of course, they are no longer narrow bridges.
There is one incident that should be put on record which appeared to be very out of character for Russ Hinze, although to someone who knew him well it was very much in character. Those who may have been in the House at the time will know the terrible difficulties I had in bringing in what was for this place very radical legislation in the field of Aboriginal affairs. I went up to see Russ Hinze and asked him for help with the matter. He roared laughing and said, "You know my reputation"—I do not want to mention some of the things that he was publicised as saying, but he did not have a great reputation for being subtle—"so what are you coming to see me for?" I said that I remembered two little matters, one concerning the Aurukun and Mornington Island decision and the other concerning the Commonwealth Games. He burst out laughing and asked whether I knew what was going on. I said that I had worked it out. In both cases he was desperately trying to protect these people. Russ visited Aurukun during the upheaval, when the church was pulling out. He went up with a senior public servant. I do not want to denigrate this person, but the Premier had insisted that he go with Russ. They got off the plane and were walking over to speak to the black people, and Russ asked why this bloke had two big bags of boiled lollies. He said that for 30 years—ever since he had been going there—he had been giving the people boiled lollies. Russell then told him what he could do with the boiled lollies. It involved a certain part of the anatomy that I could not mention in this place. He sent him back to the aeroplane and told him that he was to spend the rest of the day there.
Very few people realise that the first people of Aboriginal descent in Australia to live in self-managed communities were given that privilege—that right—by none other than Russell Hinze. The first big areas of land that were passed over to local ownership—albeit by lease only, which was the best that could be done at the time—were passed over again at the behest of Russell Hinze. He once said in answer to me that he loved the black people—he actually used a crude expression—and that he had cut cane with them, lived with them and rolled in the gutter drunk with them. Everything I saw of his life and all the help that he gave me in that respect most certainly demonstrate a courageous stand by Russell Hinze on behalf of those people.
Finally, I strongly endorse the remarks of Mr Turner and the member for Southport. One of my friends said about Russell Hinze and others that the Lilliputians were in the ascendancy. There was no doubt that the Lilliputians were in the ascendancy when big men such as Russell Hinze were brought down. The people of Queensland speak for themselves. To my knowledge, the biggest event ever held and the biggest crowd ever assembled anywhere in Queensland was at the opening of Sanctuary Cove, which was attended by 42,000 people. Mike Gore, who opened Sanctuary Cove, said that he had three people to thank for Sanctuary Cove, which he described as a beautiful accomplishment. He said the first person he wanted to thank was none other than Russell Hinze. The 42,000 people rose to their feet and gave a standing ovation which rolled on for some five or six minutes. Anyone who has criticised Russell or who thinks lowly of him should reflect on how many people in Queensland would receive that sort of ovation in front of that number of people before they go to meet their maker.
I join my two colleagues on my right in expressing my disappointment that there was no State funeral for Russell Hinze. Many of our forebears have died on the principle that an Englishman is innocent until proven guilty. Russ Hinze died an innocent man. The case against Lionel Murphy was removed in circumstances similar to those facing Russ Hinze, and he was given a State funeral. When we go to meet our maker, there is a good book. On one side of the book are the bad things that one has done and on the other are the good things that one has done. We will let the good book decide and pass final judgment upon Russ Hinze, and other people can pass their judgment upon the Lilliputians.
Mr HOBBS (Warrego) (11.40 a.m.): I am pleased to be able to speak to this condolence motion for Russ Hinze and to express my sympathy to his family. My first real association with Russ was as the shire chairman of the central western local authority of Tambo. At that time, many local government issues, for which Russ was responsible, arose. Russ was an excellent Minister. He made decisions quickly. Interestingly enough, many of the major decisions were made quickly while some of the minor decisions were made a little bit slower. That is the way in which he used to operate.
I recall my very first deputation to Russ. At that time, I was the youngest shire chairman in Queensland and he was probably the biggest Minister I had ever seen. He said to me, "Come in, boy. What can I do for you?" Basically, I put to him the details of my submission relating to road-funding. He summed them up and said, "Come back and see me tomorrow, boy." That is exactly what I did. We put in place for the shire and the residents of my area a good program from which they benefit today. Over the years, many people, not just in that area but also throughout the rest of Queensland, have benefited from decisions made by Russ Hinze. I recall in my area an instance in which, because of impassable roads, the school bus service was not able to run for up to 30 days in one school year. Russ Hinze was able to get those kids to school. I do not think anyone throughout Queensland, whether it be in my huge electorate or elsewhere, has not benefited in some way from the actions of Russell Hinze.
As has already been mentioned, that was the case not only in relation to roads or local government but also in relation to racing, which was an industry that was very important to Russ Hinze. He loved and enjoyed the Racing portfolio, which he administered very well. Punters and race-goers from Nocundra in the far south west and beyond to Thargomindah and Charleville and to Eagle Farm have all had a good word for Russ Hinze. They were saddened by his passing. There is no doubt that many were angered by the decision not to hold for their modern-day hero a State funeral to which he was entitled. Comments such as "lousy", "miserable" and "mean" were common. Many other unparliamentary words were used. I guess those people thought that their friend or, in fact, any other person was innocent until proven guilty. It is unfortunate that Russ did not have the opportunity to prove his innocence. We certainly hope that it never happens again.
Mr D'ARCY (Woodridge) (11.43 a.m.): From the late 1950s, I knew Russell James Hinze. I would like to offer my condolences as well as those of my family to Russell's two families and to Ruth and Fay. He was certainly one of the most colourful characters in Australian and Queensland political history. I think enough has been said about his achievements. I knew him closely. At one stage, as the member for Albert, he actually lived in my electorate. I was associated with many of the things which he fought for and against. In common with most other members in the House, I had my run-ins with him. However, in most cases, he was an Australian and a politician who got things done. I think that is what we most respected him for. He certainly was a colourful Queenslander. I conclude by saying what I believe probably most Queenslanders think: may he rest in peace.
Mr SZCZERBANIK (Albert) (11.44 a.m.): I wish to speak to this condolence motion. In common with many of the other new members in this House, I never worked with Russ in this place but on occasions I had met him at his home. After I was elected, I heard a rumour that Russ wanted to meet me. As I had a spare half an hour, I went round to his house. Before I got to the house, I had to travel up a long driveway. When I reached the house, two big Rottweilers raced out of the house towards me. I thought they were going to eat me. At that time, I thought they had been trained to eat members of the Australian Labor Party. Fay came out of the house, said hello and greeted me as if I was a long-lost son. I thought, "Gee, what's this?" She said, "Come in and have a cup of tea." I went in, met Russ and had a chat with him. Although I had only a spare half an hour, two and a half hours later I was still there having a chat to him.
Russ presided over the Albert area. Most people in the area either liked him or hated him. He was the kind of bloke whom people either got on with or did not. That was the way he was. He treated me with warmth and respect. We had a long chat. Because of his 22 years as a member of Parliament, he advised me of what this place was like. The thing that I remember most about Russ was his attendance at Kev Hooper's funeral. It really stuck in my mind that he went against the word of the Premier and attended Kev's funeral. That was the thing that stuck in my mind. He attended the funeral. He knew the consequences. Friendship meant more to him than anything else.
I again offer my condolences to Fay and the Hinze family, and to Ruth, his first wife. Russ left behind many legacies in Albert, and he will be remembered for them.
Motion agreed to, honourable members standing in silence.
'Hinze, Russell James (Russ) (1919–1991)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/hinze-russell-james-russ-15165/text26691, accessed 2 March 2015.