Beloved former deputy PM dies aged 73
Former deputy prime minister Tim Fischer died in a NSW hospital on Wednesday night, aged 73, after a decade-long battle with cancer.
Mr Fischer became an MP at 24, and was Nationals leader from 1990-1999 and deputy PM for John Howard from 1996-1999, playing a key role in tough gun controls introduced after the 1996 Port Arthur massacre.
Nicknamed “Two-Minute Tim”, Mr Fischer was described as the “epitome of a good bloke” and “very genuinely loved people in this place (Parliament)”, and held in high regard by his opponents.
"Today the country lost a true statesman, patriot and champion of rural Australia. Tim Fischer AC was highly respected on all sides of politics," said Senator Bridget McKenzie, Deputy Leader of The Nationals.
"I had the honour to catch up with Tim at a Nationals’ barbeque at Milawa just over a month ago and he was his cheeky, witty self, with his clever one-liners and engaging conversation.
"His vision and passion for The National Party and rural and regional Australia was as evident that day as it was throughout his distinguished career.
"I think he’s one of those iconic figures in modern Australia, the young farmer who served his country in war and in public life.
"Tim maintained an active public life after Canberra. Regional Australia’s growth and development is testament to his deep, deep passion for our nation.
"He was a great mentor to me, whether it was a text message of encouragement, a kick up the backside when he thought it was needed, or as a sounding board to discuss political matters. Tim always made himself available.
"My thoughts and prayers go to his wife, Judy, and sons Harrison and Dominic. I hope they can take some solace in how much he loved them and how well the nation loved him."
Vale Tim Fischer.