Today we mourn the passing of the Honourable John Kerin AO. John served in a number of portfolios, including a stint as a Treasurer, but it was as Minister for Primary Industries and Energy that he made his greatest mark. And what a profound mark it was.
John once wrote, "Politics is like farming; no-one is forced to do it, but someone has to." It was to Australia's lasting fortune that John did both, bringing his deep experience of the land first to the Bureau of Agricultural Economics, and then to Federal Parliament.
While he cut his teeth in the Whitlam government, it was as a minister in the Hawke government that John played his crucial role in reforming agriculture and primary industries in Australia. These were big challenges, but John approached them all with experience, care, pragmatism, consultation, and an unbreakable sense of humour.
His valuable work and service for Australia's primary industries was recognised in 2008 when he was made a Distinguished Life Member of the Australian Agriculture and Resource Economics Society.
I honour John's commitment and contribution to Australia, and to the Australian Labor Party. The Government extends its deepest condolences to John's family and friends. We will miss him greatly. May he rest in peace.