It is with the greatest of sadness that Labor mourns the death of friend and colleague Senator Alex Gallacher.
Alex’s fragile health as a consequence of his cancer diagnosis was widely known. However, this does not make the news of his passing any easier.
Despite his illness and deteriorating health, Alex was determined to remain a senator. Even after his diagnosis was announced in January 2020, he continued to work as much as he was able to. Alex joined his colleagues and participated in sittings of the Senate in Canberra as recently as June this year.
Born in Scotland, Alex worked in the transport and aviation industries before becoming an official of the Transport Workers’ Union, serving as president of that union before being elected to the Senate to represent our state of South Australia in 2010, taking his seat on 1 July 2011. He was subsequently re-elected in 2016 and 2019. His service included being Chair of the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade and Economics References Committees, and as a member of the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation and References Committees, as well as being the Deputy Chair of the Joint Select Committee on Road Safety and as a member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works.
Alex never forgot the workers he was elected to represent. In his first speech, he said, ‘I will strive to be true to the Labor values of a fair go and a better chance for all. It is my belief that the Labor Party is the only party that provides all Australians a greater share of the prosperity of this great nation.’
At every opportunity he brought the Senate’s attention to those people who are at the heart of what it means to represent the Australian Labor Party, especially in the transport industry. Australian workers are better off for Alex Gallacher’s advocacy and commitment.
My thoughts today are especially with Paola and Alex’s family, his staff, and all of his comrades at the Transport Workers’ Union.
With many senators not able to be in Canberra today, I anticipate the Senate will schedule a condolence motion for a future sitting day to ensure Alex’s contribution can be appropriately recognised by his colleagues across the chamber.
Authorised by Paul Erickson, ALP, Canberra.