(See translation in Arabic section)
Sydney - Middle East Times Int’l: Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has paid tribute to former MP for Melbourne Gerry Hand who has died. Mr Hand was a former Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs in the Bob Hawke government and Minister for Immigration, Local Government and Ethnic Affairs in the Hawke and Paul Keating governments.
Excerpt of his eulogy:
“On behalf of the Labor Party that he served and loved, I join with others in offering my condolences to all those mourning the passing of Gerry Hand.
“Through 10 years in Parliament as Member for Melbourne, including six years in the Hawke and Keating ministries, Gerry Hand gave all he had to the Labor cause.
“Having had their fair share of disagreements in their pre-Parliamentary lives, he and Bob Hawke became very close colleagues.
“So much so that when Paul Keating became Prime Minister, he was asked why he had chosen to retain Hawke loyalists like Gerry Hand in his Cabinet.
“It’s fair to say Gerry Hand understood better than most just how hard the road could be in political life.
“In his valedictory speech he spoke of his ministerial years as ‘turbulent’ ones. It’s true that both his portfolios were ones where the issues and arguments are often charged with emotion.
“On more than one occasion Gerry Hand had to make tough choices and wear harsh criticism. Yet, tellingly, he retired from Parliament with no expression of regret, only words of gratitude.
“Gratitude for the privilege of representing his community, for the people who had chosen him as their local member, for the colleagues he served alongside, for the staff who supported him through thick and thin and, above all, for his wife and children who he dearly loved.
“Our sympathies are with all Gerry Hand’s family, friends and loved ones today.”
The management and staff of the Middle East Times would like to express their condolences to the family of Gerry Hand on this most sorrowful occasion.
Middle East Times Editor Camil Shalala with Gerry Hands in the early 1990s.