It was announced this morning that Peter Andren had died as a result of pancreatic cancer. He retired at the closure of the Parliamentary Session, but unfortunately he was too sick to attend the last day of sittings. He had previously announced his intention to stand for the Senate, but later withdrew from that contest, after he received his diagnosis.
Peter Andren was an Independent - in name and in spirit. He stood for honesty in Government. You can read his "Maiden Speech" here. Peter Andren's maiden speech is very refreshing, and honest. Amongst other things, he pointed to the stupidity of Governments closing down rural infrastructure, and failing to support railways, despite serious offers by large corporations to use rail instead of road transport. That comment fell on deaf ears of Government.
Right up until the end, he was opposing abuses of the procedures of Government. His last Press Release, was calling for the end to the cat and mouse game of the Prime Minister deferring calling the election. And that was primarily because he opposed the abuse of Government funding of advertising campaigns which were clearly party-political in nature, but were masquerading as "Government" advertising.
The people of Australia need more people like Peter Andren, not less.
Here is the updated entry in Wikipedia for Peter Andren.
Australians will miss you, Peter.
I wonder if that statement might end up being as true of the Howard Government as Peter Andren believed it was true of the Keating Government. There would be a certain symmetry in Government if that were to be the case.