OVER the years I was a reporter for The Daily Advertiser, I got to know many of our parliamentarians.
And I can honestly say, I had nothing but co-operation and cordiality from all of them.
Such was the case with Alby Schultz, who has died this week at the age of 76.
I had been in newspapers for a handful of months when Mr Schultz was elected as the Member for Burrinjuck, back in 1988.
He was a great bloke to deal with. He was helpful and straightforward and always returned phone calls – no mean feat for a country MP with a sprawling electorate in the days prior to mobile phones.
Mr Schultz served as the State Member for Burrinjuck for 10 years, after which he made the switch to Federal Parliament, where he served as Member for Hume until 2013, when he retired from politics.
He had been diagnosed with inoperable liver cancer.
According to the ABC, during his time in Federal Parliament, Mr Schultz was known for being forthright with his views, even if he disagreed with party colleagues.
On a personal note, I remember Mr Schultz as being very kind to a 17-year-old kid who was just starting out in journalism.
Likewise, I remember Mr Schultz’s wife Gloria as being friendly, helpful and hard working, so I am thinking particularly of Mrs Schultz when I say I was truly saddened by the news.
Mr and Mrs Schultz have two sons, Grant and Dean, and five grandchildren and I think it is fitting to reproduce part of a Facebook post by Grant.
Grant wrote: “Today I said goodbye to a great man, a wonderful father and loving grandfather. Dad quietly passed away today surrounded by family. He fought to the last minute. It was only when Mum, Dean and I were there he decided his time had come.”
Prime Minister Tony Abbott told the ABC Mr Schultz was a very highly regarded politician and would be sorely missed.
"A man of sound judgment and strong character, Alby was as much at home in the shearing shed, the local pub, and the corridors of Parliament House," Mr Abbott said.
I hope Mrs Schultz and her family can take some small comfort in knowing there are many people – like me – who have fond memories of a hard-working bloke.
Vale Alby. – Jody Springett
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