Parliament paused to commemorate the life of a senator who died overnight in the wake of a battle with lung cancer.
Parliament came together to honor the life of Labor Senator Alex Gallagher, who died overnight following a battle with lung cancer.
The senator, who was elected in 2010, had taken a leave of absence after being diagnosed with cancer in July of last year. He was 67 years old.
Before entering Parliament, Senator Gallacher worked for 22 years with the Transportation Workers’ Union.
Senate Speaker Scott Ryan confirmed the news on Monday before the Senate adjourned early as a sign of respect for their colleague.
Prior to questioning time, Prime Minister Scott Morrison expressed his condolences to the senator’s loved ones.
“To all members of the labor movement and party caucuses, particularly from South Australia as well, we extend our deepest condolences to all of you,” he said.
“Senator Gallacher’s family too, on this terrible day, may God bless you all, and may God have mercy on our colleague and friend.”
Opposition leader Anthony Albanese praised his “no-nonsense” colleague.
“Alex’s career has been really good. We at Labor are very proud of Alex. He was a man of conscience, not nonsense,” he said.
“On behalf of the Australian Labor Party, of which he has been a loyal member, and who has truly loved and served him, fully, every day, we express our condolences to his family, and friends, may God have mercy on him.”
Australian Labor Fellow Penny Wong said Australian workers are better off thanks to the senator’s contribution to Parliament.
“We have been colleagues in the Senate for more than a decade, and since his first speech Alex has remained true to his word and has strived to be true to his Labor values,” Senator Wong said in a statement.
“At every opportunity, he has been bringing the attention of the Senate to those people who are at the heart of what it means to represent the Australian Labor Party, particularly in the transport industry. Australian workers are better off in terms of Alex Galllacher’s advocacy and commitment.
“My thoughts today are especially with Paula’s family, Alex, his staff, and all his fellow transport workers.”
The government Senate leader, Simon Birmingham, also praised the “direct shooter”.
“We have been colleagues in the Senate for more than a decade, and since his first speech Alex has remained true to his word and has strived to be true to his Labor values,” he said.
“Live shooter, you always knew what Alex thought and where he was standing.
“On behalf of the Senators, I offer my deepest condolences to Alex Paula’s wife, four children, and grandchildren.”
Born in Scotland, Senator Gallacher worked in the transport and aviation sector before becoming an official in the Transport Workers’ Union.
Despite being diagnosed with cancer, Senator Gallacher continued to join parliamentary committees remotely as often as he could.