Subject: The passing of Senator Jim Molan AO DSC.
It’s a very sad day for our country today because we have lost a great man. He was a patriot, he was a soldier, he was a diplomat, he was a negotiator – but, above all of that – he was a family man. He had a beautiful wife in Anne and all of his children and his grandchildren will be grieving and they have done over the course of the last period, because this has been a difficult period health-wise for Jim, as we know.
Jim has been a champion for our country for literally decades. When he finished high school he went into the Australian Defence Force and he served there with a great deal of honour. He was respected by all of his colleagues. It didn’t matter where you went with Jim, diggers and veterans would stop and just want to shake his hand because he was a decent, decent man and everybody who knew him knew that he loved our country and he had a great desire to help people.
He will be remembered as a great soldier. He was the chief of operations for the coalition in the Middle East. He won a very distinguished ‘bag of medals’, if you like, for his service over a long period of time. The Legion of Merit from the United States, the Distinguished Service Cross from Australia, and his kids, his family, everybody who knew him were incredibly proud, as we were.
All of my colleagues will be grieving today – the Liberal family around the country has lost a great friend and a great man of our Party and our condolences go out to Anne and to all of the family, as I say, who have gone through a lot, but have stood alongside Jim during the course of all of that.
I’m happy to take any questions.
I suppose, was there any one time, any one memory, that you remember Jim with?
Well, I remember going to Jim’s book launch. I launched his book recently. He had a really deep and abiding interest in contemporary issues, in particular on national security issues that would affect our country and he had a particular interest in China and what’s happening there today and over the next decade or two.
It was the love of his family on that day, the love that he had for them and that they had for him. They knew that he was sick at that time, and it was a big effort to get there, actually, to launch the book. An incredible effort, even to write and to complete and publish the book. But he showed up. He gave a great speech. Erin MC’d and introduced him, as I did. It was just a really beautiful moment to see him there with a great number of his family members and they were proud of what he had achieved.
A lot of Australians, too, would know Jim for his work as a soldier and as a Senator for New South Wales, but not everybody would know that he was a great champion, for example, of trying to reduce the incidence of stillbirth in our country. He worked alongside Nicolle Flint and Greg Hunt, as minister then, to deliver about $11 million worth of funding to try and reduce the incidence of stillbirths because he knew the pain and the grief that families went through, and he was very alive to that human reality.
So, I think those are the moments that people will remember most. Obviously, when you’ve got somebody who’s just had such a full life, there will be countless stories that come out. One on 2GB this morning of their next door neighbours who rang in to provide their story of growing up beside the Molan family – just incredible – and they showed their love for him as well.
What do you think is the biggest or maybe most important thing that he taught the next generation?
I think it was just his tenacity, his decency. He was a very honourable person. You could take him at his word, and he was a great gentleman as well. He was somebody who really went out of his way to help people, and I think Australians really appreciate that quality. He was a fine human being. He’ll be deeply missed and his passing is a sorry day for our country.
Thank you very much.