Today, we farewell a great Australian and Queenslander, a gifted man and a leader who led his National Party with gravitas – Michael John Ahern.
Mike became Premier of Queensland at undoubtedly one of the most turbulent and difficult times in the state’s political history. But with his characteristic and admirable discernment, pragmatism and moderation, Mike steadied the ship. In a personality-driven political atmosphere, Mike shifted the focus back to where it should be – on policy and the people of Queensland.
As a man of integrity, Mike as Premier, instituted reforms which delivered greater political and public service transparency and accountability, and in the process, helped revive public confidence in Queensland’s institutions.
Propelled into political life aged 25, Mike was a prodigy and widely recognised for his intellect and wisdom beyond his years. Commendably, he was never conceited, retaining the humility, conscientiousness and work ethic of his country upbringing.
Mike’s significant service to his state was appropriately acknowledged when he was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2007. He was the principled public servant who courageously went about putting the house in order at a time when it needed it the most.
Above all else, Mike was a devoted husband to his wife Andrea and dedicated father to his five children, Louise, Claire, John, Christine and Sharon. Mike’s daughter, Louise, was one of my former advisers and embodied all the qualities of her father. He was ever so proud of her and my thoughts are with Louise especially today.
On behalf of the Coalition, I offer my heartfelt condolences to Mike’s family, friends and colleagues in the National Party.
May he rest in peace.