Senator the Hon. Mathias Cormann
Minister for Finance
Date: Friday, 10 April 2015
Hayley and I were very sad to hear about the passing this morning of distinguished former Finance Minister and Western Australian Senator Peter Walsh.
As a real pillar of the reforming Hawke Labor Government, Peter Walsh made an outstanding contribution to our country.
He helped put Australia on a stronger, more solid foundation for the future, in particular by leading the charge as an effective Cabinet crusader against wasteful government spending.
When Australia in 1986 was confronted with a significant fall in our terms of trade, he led the charge in finding about $6 billion in savings in just one Budget – a massive and very challenging undertaking at that time.
In many ways Peter Walsh defined the role of a strong and effective Finance Minister and set the example which his successors in that portfolio have sought to follow ever since.
His 1995 book Confessions of a Failed Finance Minister remains the compelling manual of choice for any Finance Minister today.
As a migrant to Australia it was a real privilege for me to get to know Peter Walsh, through a mutual family friend, very soon after my arrival in Perth.
At those occasional private family get togethers we talked policy and politics long before I ever knew that one day I would end up serving, like him, as both a Western Australian Senator and Finance Minister.
Peter always had strong views on the right way forward and he expressed those views very clearly, both privately and publicly.
As a former wheat and sheep farmer from Doodlakine and a true son of the Wheatbelt we enjoyed swapping stories about challenges and opportunities in rural Western Australia today.
My wife and I express our sincere condolences to Peter’s wife Rosalie, his daughters Karen, Shelley, Anne, Deborah and their families.
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