LNP mourns passing of a 'true gentleman'
HE launched his own career in public life at 42 off the back of a kaleidoscope of life experiences, and would eventually play a role in the shaping of those of some of the key players in conservative politics in Queensland.
By the time he passed away on Monday after a long battle with dementia, former Member for Mooloolah and Landsborough Shire councillor Bruce Laming had not only established his own legacy but had also helped nurture those of his son Andrew, the Federal Member for Bowman, former Attorney General and Member for Kawana Jarrod Bleijie, current Federal Fisher MP Andrew Wallace and Liberal Senator for Queensland James McGrath.
Mr Wallace said the Liberal Party room in Canberra had paused to remember Mr Laming's public service and support for the party.
"It's a very sad day," Mr Wallace said. "The LNP has lost a great trooper. I did a parliamentary internship with Bruce as part of my law degree.
"He was one of life's gentlemen. I was very close to Bruce and Estelle. I raised his passing in the party room today and our love and thoughts are with Estelle, Susan, Julie and Andrew."
Former Deputy Premier and Member for Caloundra Joan Sheldon said Mr Laming had been a fine man who had served his party loyally and had done a wonderful job for his constituents.
Member for Kawana Jarrod Bleijie recalled a man he described as a statesman of the LNP.
Mr Bleijie said he had worked as a campaign volunteer for Mr Laming late in his career and ultimately was one of the first discussed his own ambitions to enter politics in 2008.
He said the Laming home had been a great venue for young LNP members to meet.
"He was a real influence on us and up until recently attended functions and offered support," Mr Bleijie said.
Bruce arrived on the Sunshine Coast in the early 1970s following a working career that had ranged from the Snowy Mountain scheme to the Mount Isa mines, wool-classing in Tasmania where he would dive in the freezing waters to catch crays, warming up around a fire lit on the beach and four years patrolling in Bouganville and the highlands of Papua New Guinea.
He and his wife Estelle would build a waterfront home in Adaluma Avenue, Kawana, in 1975 and go on to raise three children.
Bruce joined Sunshine Coast Newspapers in 1979 as circulation manager, forming part of the small team assembled to launch the Sunshine Coast Daily the following year.
He successfully ran for Landsborough Shire Council in 1980 with a platform to sewer Kawana and end the discharge of effluent into the Mooloolah River, both of which were at the time considered unaffordable.
Standing down after a single term he then used the massive public campaign against Labor toll roads to win the new seat of Mooloolah (now Kawana), going on to serve as his party's Whip, Housing and Public Works spokesman and eventually Deputy Speaker.
In 2001 after being ordered by his party to put One Nation last on the ballot paper, he suffered a 19% swing that lost the Liberals lose their second safest seat to Labor.
Out of politics he remained connected to the community as a life member at Alexandra Headland Surf Life Saving Club, with the Sunshine Coast barbershop chorus and as rear-commodore sailing at Mooloolaba Yacht Club.
He went on to achieve a Bachelor of Arts at USC and in 2009 won the Australian Writers' Fellowship best short story at his first attempt.
Friends and family will remember Bruce this Saturday at 10am at Gregson and Weight, 159 Wises Road, Buderim, followed by celebratory drinks at the Laming home in Adaluma Ave Buddina.