Condolences – Hon William Albert Landeryou
19 March 2019
Mr Walsh : I join the condolence motion for William Albert Landeryou. As has already been said Bill was born in Moonee Ponds. He was one of 11 children in a very large family which was quite common in those particular times. He left school at the age of 15 and worked for a trucking firm. Then as has been said he joined the Federated Storemen and Packers Union as a dues collector then as a research officer then as an organiser then as a state secretary then as the federal secretary and then as the federal president. As I understand it the storemen and packers union and the Federated Liquor and Allied Industries Employees Union actually merged during that time and basically created a super union with something like 200 000 members. This became the launching pad for Simon Crean and his political career. As has been said Bill was very involved in Bob Hawke’s career. As I understand it Bill was involved in actually having the storemen and packers pub named the RJ Hawke Hotel. The reason the hotel was called the ‘RJ Hawke Hotel’ rather than the ‘Bob Hawke Hotel’ was because they felt that calling it the Bob Hawke Hotel was just a bit too informal. They actually wanted it to be called the RJ Hawke Pub out there in the northern suburbs. As has also been said Bill ran for preselection for federal Parliament a couple of times but was unsuccessful. Bill served as the Minister for Economic Development the Minister for Tourism the Minister for Industrial Affairs and the Minister of Labour and Industry in the early years of the Cain government. If you measure someone’s life particularly their political life by the column centimetres that are generated in the media or by their contributions to Parliament Bill Landeryou had a very rich and a very colourful political life. As has been said Bill’s first job as he saw it when he was elected to the other place was to actually get rid of it. He was quoted at the time as saying: That Upper House at the moment is so irrelevant it’s not funny. It spends $2 million a year and last year sat for 39 days for an average of six hours and 12 minutes a day which included one hour and 45 minutes for evening meal. He did not go as far as a former federal Prime Minister with his reflections on the Senate but I am sure he had similar views around that sort of thing. He was quoted in the Labor Star newspaper as saying: To say Bill Landeryou is obsessive about the abolition of the Legislative Council … is an understatement. He believed that they should be gotten rid of but he did serve a long time there and I am sure he came to see the benefit of the upper house as a member of that particular place. As I understand it-and the Treasurer touched on this-Jeff Kennett paid him a compliment. We know being damned with faint praise by your opposition is sometimes the worst thing that could happen but at one stage he was led to actually issue a writ against said Mr Kennett. The press report states Mr Landeryou: … has issued a writ claiming damages for alleged libel against the new State Opposition Leader Mr Kennett. Mr Landeryou claims damages over statements allegedly made by Mr Kennett to a group of newspaper journalists at a press conference on Tuesday following his election as Liberal leader. The writ issued late yesterday by solicitors Holding Redlich and Co.- surprise surprise!- of East Melbourne claims the statements were made by Mr Kennett with the intention they would be published in the newspapers. I think that is stating the obvious. If Mr Kennett was going to make a statement to a bunch of journalists he would most likely be hoping they would be published in the newspaper. I am not sure what came of that legal challenge at that particular time but I am sure having read Hansard and the comments in the media clips they had a very good verbal duelling relationship during their time in Parliament. At one stage Bill was actually going on a plane trip to Echuca to visit my electorate. On approaching Echuca they realised that the landing gear would not come down and they had to turn around and come back to Melbourne. They had to circle Moorabbin and make sure that the control tower could see that the wheels were actually down and apparently they had the most perfect of landings but I am sure there was a lot of nervous energy used up on that particular plane trip-and he never did get to Echuca that time. Bill did have an interesting time with the then Premier John Cain. I note in one of the articles that he actually won Politician of the Year from the state parliamentary press gallery. He was in very good company and I will come to that but it was reported: The former Minister widely quoted earlier in the year when he said something about being hanged for a parking offence was presented with a parking meter. On being presented with that parking meter by the press gallery he actually felt it should be put outside Premier John Cain’s office rather than his office. But he joined good company in being Politician of the Year award. Neil McInnes was awarded that for defecting from The Nationals to the Liberals-the world was just going to rack and ruin-and then lost his seat which was true justice for doing that; Jeff Kennett won it for just being Jeff Kennett; and Daryl McClure won it for being asleep during a division in the upper house and missing a crucial vote. So Bill joined very good company in being awarded Politician of the Year. I think people have already canvassed quite widely his first contribution in Parliament which was on the Liquor Control (Orderly Marketing) Bill 1976. As I understand it from reading it that was very much legislation around the supermarkets getting packaged beer licences and actually cutting the price of packaged beer which was undermining the returns to publicans in selling packaged beer. He did say in that debate: At least Ned Kelly had the decency to wear a mask! The debate that he contributed to which I want to touch on in my contribution was on a motion moved by Don Hayward in the other place about State Electricity Commission employees. That was actually in Bill’s industrial relations role where he was negotiating a pay rise for those employees-it was about a 7 per cent pay rise. He actually felt that those people who were members of the union should receive their pay rise backdated to the start of February and that those people who were not members of the union should not get their pay rise until 1 July. As the Treasurer touched on Bill was a very passionate supporter of the union movement and those who were members of unions and he felt that those people who were members of a union should have their pay rises paid before others. He was not going to penalise those who were not members of unions but he was going to incentivise people to actually be members of unions by doing that because as he went on to say it was: … fundamental and obvious that those who contribute to the cost of preparing presenting and prosecuting a wage claim are entitled to the benefits of that wage claim and those who share the benefits of those negotiations and accept those benefits without contributing do so at a marginally higher living standard- because they do not contribute to the union. That was his philosophy around that. Members: Hear hear! Mr WALSH: I hear the ‘Hear hear’ from the other side. We might think about doing the same for the price of returns to farmers over that particular time. Just to finish off and for the benefit of the Deputy Premier one of Bill’s other skills was that he actually bred roses as a hobby. In 1985 with an election in the seat of Monbulk in which Neil Pope was standing against the then Deputy Premier Mr Borthwick Bill Landeryou promised Mr Pope that if he unseated the then member for Monbulk Bill would actually breed a rose for him. There is a photo of him presenting this new rose to Neil Pope; he called it ‘Monbulk Victory’. I suppose both the Leader of the Parliamentary Liberal Party and I would be very happy to breed a rose for the person who defeats the member for Monbulk. Members interjecting. Mr WALSH: But seriously Bill Landeryou was someone who made a huge contribution to public life and I think we are all indebted to his contribution both in the union movement and in this particular place and to what he did for Victoria. My sincere condolences to all those of his family who are here in the gallery today to those that are his wider family and to all his friends. He was someone that did really make a significant contribution to Victorian public life. Vale Bill Landeryou.