Australia has lost one of its great political characters, and regional Australia one of its great champions, with the passing of the Hon Tim Fischer today.

Tim was one of a kind, and my thoughts go out to Judy, Harrison and Dominic.

Today is a sad day for the people of Farrer whom Tim represented on the national and international stage over seventeen years, and who I succeeded as local member following his retirement.

Tim was a mentor to me, one whose passion for the history, culture and politics of our region shone through in everything he said at home and abroad.

He travelled among us, he spoke for us, and we loved him for that.

Whenever I drive the backroads of my electorate near Boree Creek I am reminded of the Vietnam veteran farmer in the slouch hat who strode amongst us, and his passion for finding a place for rural Australia on the world stage.

While much will be said about Tim’s achievements today – for me, the memory will be of the affable family man relaxing at the Lockhart Show enjoying a snag around the barbecue with his boys, chatting about trains…and, of course, wearing that hat.