Tribute to Richard Hockey – Speech in the Australian Parliament

  • October 25, 2016

20 October 2016


Mr Deputy Speaker

I rise to pay tribute in this Parliament to Richard Hockey who passed away last weekend and was a much loved member of my community and the Liberal Party in North Sydney.

For many of us in this place, he was well known as the father of my predecessor, Joe Hockey.

Joe held extraordinary pride in his father as an example of the success of those who have migrated to Australia, often in incredibly difficult circumstances.

Richard Hockey was born in Bethlehem to Armenian and Palestinian parents.  His childhood was not easy.  Never knowing his father, his mother struggled to support her two sons.

Madonna King wrote in her biography of Joe that:

I quote, “In 1948, Richard had crossed the Jordan River from its West Bank, determined to pursue a new life that might be rich with potential; he dreamt of finding a new homeland, less cursed by entrenched rivalries.”

That new homeland was to be Australia and through sheer hard work he and his soon to be wife, Beverley, made a successful future for their family in Sydney.

He was forever grateful to Australia.

Initially a strong Labor supporter – he named his son Joseph Benedict after Chifley – he did however see the light during the period of the Whitlam government and the ravages it caused for many small businesses like his own.

Many of us began our political journey as Young Liberals alongside Joe, experiencing his father’s warmth and generosity.

He was a great father to Joe and his siblings.  But, with his trademark beret and good humour, he was a fatherly figure for all of us who came within his orbit.

I extend my deep sympathies to Richard’s family – to Beverley, Joe, Colin, Michael and Juanita.

Richard will be sorely missed.