Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler—Leader of the Opposition) (13:57): The death last week of Alan Ramsey has deprived Australia of a man who was part journalist, part force of nature. For those with an interest in politics, opening your Sydney Morning Herald on a Saturday morning was how it began. It was like walking into a thunderstorm. There, hovering like a cloud at the top of his words, was his face—not so much to welcome you in but to give fair warning of what was to come, and then it was on for young and old. An Alan Ramsey column could absolutely rock with thunder, and the lightning that came with it served two purposes: (1) it gave flashes of illumination amid the darkness and (2) it scorched everyone it hit. But even the most ferocious of Alan’s writing was an expression of tough love from a man who knew that those of us in this place could and should do better.
He was a man of courage on so many levels. He reported the truth from a brutal war. He learned about politics as a staffer for Bill Hayden. He was not afraid to be wrong. He was not afraid to be sentimental or to express his admiration. In an age where cool rationality was the supposed ideal of political journalism, he let his head and his heart rule his writing, sometimes in rocky tandem. Alan Ramsey was indeed a giant of journalism. May he rest in peace.