September 13, 2017

Mr HAYES (FowlerChief Opposition Whip) (10:00): Today I'd like to speak about an extraordinary birthday party I attended recently, made more extraordinary because it was in honour of a friend of mine who turned 107 years of age. That makes Ted Wale now the third-oldest living person in our country and, I've got to say very proudly, the oldest living member of the Australian Labor Party. Ted has been a constituent of mine ever since I transferred to the seat of Fowler, and he's been living in Cabramatta. He has only recently moved into aged care at the Whiddon Easton Park residential care facility in Glenfield. By the way, I closed my office and took all my staff to this party, because it's very unusual to meet a person of this age who's so articulate.

The extraordinary part about this party is that Ted shared many memorable experiences of growing up in the First World War and living through the Second World War. He talked about his role in working for the government's small arms factory in Lithgow, and he talked about being an instrument fitter for the Commonwealth aircraft facility in the Second World War, but he also talked about things such as growing up as a boy, migrating to this country from England, and his parents building a house. He didn't have electricity or running water. As the son, he would be dispatched to go and get the pails of water for the baths, and I think all the young women who were working for me were aghast at the fact that the family only had one bath a week, and they shared the same bath. He would fill the bath with water, they would boil it, and the girls would go first, followed by the mother, followed by him and then followed by his father. I think that really put in place how things that we take for granted have changed. Within the scope of this one man's lifetime, these things were all happening.

Despite aspects of his past, even now he is still a practising artist. Ted has made a lifetime contribution to the local art societies. In particular, he's a foundation member of the Fairfield City Art Society. He was instructing in art until two years ago, giving art classes. That earnt him the award for Fairfield Citizen of the Year last year. He is just such an inspiration and a joy to be around. I have a multicultural electorate and multicultural people on my staff. For the Chinese speaker on my staff he counted from one to 10 in Mandarin, and he welcomed the Arabic speaker on my staff in Arabic. Here's a man who still possesses all those faculties. He was just a joy to be around. It was a true honour.