Australia

John Howard pays touching tribute to former Liberal defence minister Peter Reith who was ‘somebody I admired a lot’ #John #Howard #pays #touching #tribute #Liberal #defence #minister #Peter #Reith #admired #lot #englishheadline


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Former prime minister John Howard has paid a touching tribute to his “wonderful friend and colleague” Peter Reith. 

 

The former Liberal defence minister died on November 8, aged 72 after battling with Alzheimer’s disease. 

Mr Reith served as a Senior Cabinet Minister in the Howard government from 1996 to 2001 and dedicated a lifelong commitment to public service.

He was a political commentator on Englishheadline Australia and co-anchor of the weekly program Beattie & Reith with former Queensland Premier Peter Beattie.

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Earlier this week, Mr Reith’s family accepted the Albanese government’s offer to hold a state memorial service which was held on Thursday in Melbourne.

Mr Howard addressed mourners on Thursday and thanked Mr Reith’s family for giving him the “privilege” to speak.

“I last saw Peter about five or six weeks ago when he was taken into care and it was very obvious the illness he had,” he said during the service.

“But he retained his sense of humour…that wonderful, laid-back humour. 

“I think one of the remarkable tributes that can be paid to Peter is to acknowledge the extraordinary affection in which he was held by people who worked for him.

“It was widely remarked in Coalition government circles that the harmony and ease and grace of the operation of his office set an example to many others on both sides of politics.”

Mr Howard acknowledged Mr Reith’s “remarkable” career and said he always saw public life as a “vocation”. 

“I have lost somebody I admired a lot, who gave enormously to the Liberal cause, who did as Ian remarked, fight very hard for policy change,” he said. 

“He wanted to contribute, he attached himself for reasons I can readily understand…but he was a person who made friends on both side of politics.

“Peter Reith was a great all-rounder…I thank God for him and may he rest in peace.”

After being elected to the seat of Flinders in 1982, Mr Reith served as a member of the House of Representatives for more than 17 years.

He served under Malcolm Fraser, Andrew Peacock, John Hewson, Alexander Downer and John Howard before retiring from politics at the 2001 election.

Mr Reith was a key figure in Australian politics throughout the 1990s promoting and implementing economic reform in tax, the labour market and the stevedoring industry.

He was not only a senior Cabinet Minister from 1996 to 2001 but also Leader of the House.

In the Howard government, he served as minister for industrial and workplace relations, small business and defence.

English Headline

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