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Condolence Motion - Sir Max Bingham QC

Cassy O'Connor MP

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Wednesday, 2 March 2022

Tags: Condolence, Parliament

Ms O'CONNOR (Clark - Leader of the Greens) - Mr Speaker, on behalf of the Greens, Dr Woodruff and I also acknowledge the great life of Sir Max Bingham QC and his dedicated life of public service. The Premier and Leader of the Opposition have gone through his career highlights but at every stage of Sir Max's life there was clearly a dedicated commitment to public service, from his time in the military to his legal career to his very distinguished career in the Tasmanian parliament, and to the work he did once he had left parliament to tackle corruption in my old home state of Queensland, which was rotten to its core before the Fitzgerald Inquiry, which led to the establishment of the Criminal Justice Commission on which Sir Max Bingham worked.

Sir Max clearly was a man of great integrity, a truth teller, a decent man. One of the things that clearly offended him deeply was corruption and dishonesty. We see that through his work, particularly here and in Queensland, but I also want to note that in recent years, when he was well into his 90s, Sir Max stood up on behalf of Tasmanians who are blighted by poker machines. He stepped forward in his 90s to make a case for a better way, and as we know, this parliament by number, by vote, did not choose that better way. In a statement that was shared by our upper House colleague, the independent member for Nelson, Ms Webb, he said at the time he had funded some economic modelling on the poker machine issue that showed Tasmanian taxpayers missing out on at least $367 million to the poker machine industry as a result of the legislation that was passed by the major parties in this place. Sir Max said at the time:

Back in 1969 when I entered state parliament the Labor Party was led by Eric Reece and the Liberal Party by Angus Bethune, two men who were in politics to do something to make Tasmania better and between whom there was a high level of mutual respect.

I have now decided to make a contribution to the improved regulation of the gambling machine industry. I am sure my former Premier, Angus Bethune, would approve of action to help give Tasmanian punters a more nearly fair go, which the present level of sophistication of the machines currently denies them.

He went on to say:

I confess to another motive. The performance of both Liberal and Labor parties and the gaming machine industry in the 2018 and 2021 elections has caused me great concern and has seriously imperilled democracy in Tasmania.

Mr Speaker, the Greens were not going to let this condolence motion go by without also noting that Sir Max had the courage to take on the establishment in this place, and even in his 90s his commitment to the wellbeing and the welfare of the people of Tasmania was a driving force in his character.

I never had the good fortune to meet Sir Max Bingham QC, which is kind of curious because he has been part of public life for the 33 years I have been on this island, but I wish I had. He was loved and respected across politics, across the legal profession and in the community. He was a man who was recognised for his deeply ingrained integrity and we can all take something from the example that he set.

On behalf of the Greens, I express my deepest condolences but also my thanks to the family of Sir Max Bingham for his life. I acknowledge his children Richard, Belinda, Peter and David and their loving families. Vale Sir Max Bingham. Over a long, long life he gave it his all and he never stopped giving.