Premier pays tribute to Tim Mulherin
WHEN Labor was decimated in the 2012 election and just seven MPs remained, Deputy Opposition Leader Tim Mulherin turned to then Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk and delivered a profound but no doubt true statement.
"We'll have hides as thick as rhinos by the end of this," he said.
The newly minted Campbell Newman Government had been making plenty of jokes across the aisle about how the entire Labor team could fit in a Tarago.
The pair rebuilt the Labor party in Queensland during their years leading the small team to victory in 2015, and consigning the Newman Government to just one term.
As she prepares to contest her third election since then, Ms Palaszczuk said it was with great sadness she learned of the passing of her good friend, Tim Mulherin.
Mr Mulherin served as Mackay MP from 1995 to 2015 and as Deputy Leader of the Opposition from 2012 to 2015.
"It was after that 2012 election, when Labor was reduced to just seven members, Tim turned to me at that first sitting of parliament and said 'We'll have hides as thick as rhinos by the end of this'," Ms Palaszczuk said.
"That was true. But underneath that thick skin was a heart as big as Queensland.
"Tim was the youngest of six children with a family tree that seemed to spread everywhere.
"Family was everything to Tim.
"His nickname was 'Cuz' because wherever Tim went he found a relative or the relative of someone else he knew from Mackay.
"He also believed a stranger was just a friend he hadn't met yet.
"Tim had a deep and abiding love for workers and their families.
"He understood the dignity of having a job, paying the bills and having a roof over your head.
"He fought for those families every day of his political life and long after."
The Premier said Mr Mulherin served as Agriculture and Regional Economies minister, and later as Rural and Regional Economies Minister.
"His heart never left those regional centres and the people and industries that make them thrive," she said.
"Tim knew everyone.
"He loved history and was keen to share it. More importantly, he was eager to learn the lessons of the past.
"I am profoundly grateful I saw Tim on my last visit to Mackay.
"I valued his guidance, strength, good humour and friendship.
"I offer my condolences to Erin and their three sons - Declan, Liam and Rory.
"His pride and love for them was boundless and on constant display.
"Anyone who visited was considered part of the family and Tim would cook up a feast.
"Above all, Tim Mulherin was a gentleman.
"I have lost a friend and Queensland has lost a champion."