Mr Melhem (Western Metropolitan): I rise to speak of the passing of a Labor legend, the honourable former senator Steve Hutchins. He lost his battle with cancer of 19 years. One thing about Steve is he definitely was a fighter. That horrible disease kept at him for the past 19 years, but he managed to battle through for that period. Steve was a champion of workers. He was a champion of the fair go all round. He never took a backward step in challenging for the right of workers to be treated fairly in the workplace. He held many positions in the Senate. He chaired a number of committees to advance the rights of workers and the rights of community, in particular the committee he chaired in relation to child labour.

Mr Hutchins was a great friend. If you were ever looking for a friend to stand by you when your time was good, that was him. When you were down, he was there with you, unlike some other friends who, when your time is down, will just walk away from you. But that was not Steve Hutchins. He was a true friend for many people. I had the chance a couple of weeks ago to say goodbye to him before he actually decided to go to New South Wales, to the Blue Mountains. That is where he came from. He just wanted to spend the last two weeks there, and he had his wish. Today he will be put to rest at 1 o’clock in the place he loved. That is how he wanted to leave this world, and he got his wish.

Steve is survived by his wife, my good friend Natalie Hutchins, a member of the other place, their son, Xavier, and his other five children, Lauren, Julia, Michael, Georgia and Madeleine. He will be truly missed by us all. Rest in peace, my friend, until we meet again.

29 November 2017