Condolence Motion the Hon. Richard Face
13th September 2023
Mr GREG PIPER (Lake Macquarie) (15:49): I too make some brief reflections on the former member for Charlestown, the Hon. Richard Face. We have been regaled with the history of the great achievements that Richard made from this place and subsequent to his leaving the Legislative Assembly. None of us in this place could do our work without the support of our family and loved ones, including our close friends. I am sure that would have been the case for Richard. To Gay and Tamara, Melita and Annabelle, Bob and Margaret and Richard—it is a privilege for me to be able to stand in this place and say a few words. I am going to co-opt the sentiments and words of my colleagues, particularly the member for Charlestown, who gave such a good overview of the political life—and much of his life outside of Parliament—of Richard Face.
I reflect on somebody who I did know in this place: former member David Campbell, who was police Minister at the time. He has a sort of gruffness about him. In some ways, there is a bit of a similarity there. I remember going to see David, and he said to me something that was very similar to something that Richard said to me once, "Member for Lake Macquarie, I'm happy to do what I can to help you, but I'd much rather be dealing with one of ours, okay?" David did not get over it really well, but I defeated a longstanding member of the Labor Party in the Hunter—which was not a common thing to do. I am sure that Richard probably had a similar sentiment. But he was also very generous in the way that he approached me.
Another member that has been reflected on in this place is Milton Morris. They were contemporaries, of course. When you were elected, Milton was always keen to send you a nice little note, either handwritten—I seem to think it was typewritten; he may have got the member for Mount Druitt to help him with his typewriter to tap that out. Richard did not do it that way with me. I think it was the member for Charlestown who said that Richard was a mentor and adviser—or certainly words to that effect. I am going to say that he was an adviser. Richard wanted to give me advice, there is no doubt about that. I am not sure that he expected me to follow it, but he certainly wanted to give it to me.
At the time when I most got to know Richard, I was the mayor of the City of Lake Macquarie, having been elected in 2004. That is where I first started to spend more time discussing regional matters with Richard, including his involvement with Northern Region Football. There was a lot going on in that area. I do not know if they have sorted their politics out. I think they have. But, surprise, surprise, Richard would be not only involved in politics here but also in sport. Who is surprised?
Richard was absolutely fully engaged in the region. He was a titan of the Hunter. That is how I remember him before I really got involved in politics. He was just always there, and he was involved in some of those major capital works and other arguments to drive the Hunter forward. He was incredibly parochial, as I hope all members are for their area. I think we are very parochial in the Hunter, and Richard was the epitome of that. Why was I not surprised then that, as mayor of the City of Lake Macquarie, he approached me over something—I mean, who gets into bowling? I do not know. It is a tragic kind of a life.
TEMPORARY SPEAKER (Mr Clayton Barr): Order!
Mr GREG PIPER: I have heard of a chap by the name of Richard Amery and bowling memorabilia around the Parliament. So was Richard Face. Richard went on to a life supporting bowling clubs and trying to make sure that bowling clubs remained sustainable in the area and that those clubs could survive and stand on their own. Of course, so many of them have not been able to. In all seriousness, it has been a tragic loss to the community. One club that I worked with Richard really closely on—and with the former mayor of Lake Macquarie, John Kilpatrick—was the Charlestown Bowling Club. I will call it Kahibah, where I grew up. Anyway, Richard and I worked closely to deliver freehold ownership of the Charlestown Bowling Club. It would not have happened had it not been for Richard Face. I do not know how many members of the bowling club would recognise that now, but they owe him a great debt of gratitude. Richard left a great legacy. We are all on the same path and we will all leave at some stage, but I do not think many of us will be able to leave the mark that Richard Face has left, not just in this place but also in his community. To his family and friends, my condolences. Vale, Richard Face.