CONDOLENCES Hon. Arthur Andrew McCutcheon

Tuesday 6th February 2018 - 

Hon. Arthur Andrew McCutcheon

Mr WALSH (Murray Plains) (12:26:40) — Thank you very much, Speaker, and I join the condolence motion on behalf of The Nationals. Andrew McCutcheon was born in Melbourne in September 1931. He attended Wesley College and then had his tertiary education at Melbourne University, where he obtained a bachelor of architecture. As has already been said, he married Vivienne in 1957, and they have one son and three daughters. To say that Andrew had a truly interesting life would almost be an understatement. He was an architect, he was a minister of religion, he was a planning consultant, he was a community organiser, he was a vigneron and he was a politician.

Andrew was appointed to the Collingwood Methodist Mission in 1961, and he was a Methodist minister in that area from 1961 to 1969. Whilst there, he lived in a housing commission flat with his wife and young family. He was a member of the Town and Country Planning Association; he was a member of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects — he was actually vice‑president of its council for a number of years; he was chairman of the Melbourne steering committee of the Great Wine Capitals Global Network; and he was a Collingwood councillor from 1965 to 1982, serving a term as mayor.

Andrew as a young person was a keen sailor. He joined his father in the Flying Fifteens on trips between Mornington and Portsea, and as I understand it he won a handful of Australian titles in that class.

After he became a Methodist minister and long before he entered Parliament, Andrew lived and worked with disadvantaged communities in Scotland. He helped restore an 11th century abbey on the tiny isle of Iona.

Andrew entered Parliament in April 1982 and served for 10 years, until that seat was abolished. He was Minister for Water Resources, Minister for Property and Services, and Attorney‑General. His appointment as Attorney‑General created some controversy at the time, particularly from the law fraternity who effectively said, ‘How dare someone be appointed Attorney‑General who is not a lawyer?’. Andrew at the time said:

They called me the architect‑general, but I think that I was able to bring an objectivity and lay perspective to the very complicated criminal justice system. I was concerned that the traditional adversarial court system created winners and losers and therefore engendered a lot of destructive feeling in the community.

Those comments might be worthy of being reflected on by some of the lawyers in the house today. Having a couple of bush lawyers as attorney‑general might be a good thing at some time in the future. He was Minister for Local Government, Minister for Ethnic Affairs, Minister for the Arts, Minister for Planning and Urban Growth and Minister for Planning and Housing.

The thing that I found interesting in reading Andrew’s history was his career after politics. After politics Andrew and Vivienne began thinking about the 15 acres of pasture they had owned for years at Main Ridge. They planted it out with vines in 1993, and Andrew made use of his skills and knowledge to assist the Mornington Peninsula Vignerons Association, the Victorian Wine Industry Association (VWIA) and the Peninsula’s regional tourism body.

While he was serving on the VWIA, Melbourne was approached by Bordeaux to become part of the Great Wine Capitals of the world. Andrew facilitated Melbourne’s involvement in the network to emphasise the development of trade, winery tourism and education. Even in the midst of all his external activities Andrew still managed to run a successful wine operation. A feasibility study he commissioned in 1996 showed that 15 acres did not constitute a viable wine business, so again calling upon his lateral thinking, he invited other small nearby operators to join him in a cooperative. The three families in the cooperative shared knowledge, machinery, promotion and the winemaking skills of Ric McIntyre and Alex White. Andrew said, ‘We met one day to discuss a joint name. Someone described ourselves as being about 10 minutes by tractor apart, so that name seemed to be appropriate’ — and remarkably it stuck. The business continues to be highly successful and a highlight of the region and has received many prestigious awards, including coveted hats in the highly competitive The Age Good Food Guide.

To say that Andrew had a life well lived would be an understatement. Vale, Andrew McCutcheon. My deepest sympathies to Vivienne and his family

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