Wednesday 20 August 2014

Hansard of the Legislative Council

Condolence Motion Peter Underwood

Mr Finch (Rosevears) - Mr President, we have lost a great Tasmanian. I grieve with Peter Underwood's widow, Frances, and I can do no better than quote her words at the state funeral:

A beautiful man in every sense of the word. Beautiful in body, powerful in intellect, quick-witted, sparkling and courageous spirit.

No-one can better that, Mr President.

At all stages of his long and illustrious career, Peter Underwood maintained a strong sense of community engagement. That is what I appreciated. He was very passionate about the community and he worked to improve the values of our society. He was of the Tasmanian community. I know that my brother, Phil, swam with him every Thursday morning at the Aquatic Centre and enjoyed just being there at the swimming pool in the presence of the Governor, who chose to do his swimming there.

He could talk easily with every member of the community and the Tasmanian community will miss his understanding and compassion.

Peter Underwood was a man of peace and he understood the horror of war and was not afraid to condemn its glorification as he did on Anzac Day this year. It was a great speech although misunderstood by some. Every Tasmanian should be reminded of that speech each Anzac Day and certainly its quotable passages are material for my Anzac Day speech next year, which will be a very important Anzac Day.

Carole and I had the great privilege of being invited by the Governor to Government House when he hosted the ambassador for Croatia. It was a very special night for us and we enjoyed it very much. We were made to feel welcome and very comfortable at what was a big gathering for the ambassador. I wanted to get Carole's impression of what she thought; she is a great assessor of people and has a good understanding of their qualities. She said, 'He's the best example I have seen of a modern man - respectful, caring, forward thinking, and a man from a high position in our community not scared of saying it how it is. He was a great host who treated all guests with great respect and had genuine interest in others both young and old'. Carole was very impressed with his opening up of Government House to everyday people as often as possible. Carole's wish is that all politicians and other lesser mortals might look to him as an example of how humans should exist and relate to each other. It is sad - the passing of a person who had become a great Tasmanian.