Federal MP Don Randall died from a suspected heart attack yesterday. He was 62.
The Western Australian member for Canning was found dead in his car around 3pm on Tuesday near Bonnington Golf Course, south of Perth.
The death is not being treated as suspicious by police.
Randall was first elected as the member for Swan in 1996, replacing former ALP leader Kim Beazley, who moved to a safer seat, but lost the seat in 1998 to Labor’s Kim Wilkie. In 2001 he became the member for Canning, and was re-elected four times.
He was a teacher and local government councillor before becoming a federal politician.
Prime minister Tony Abbott said his shocked and saddened by the MP’s sudden passing.
“Don was an outstanding local member. He was a passionate and persuasive advocate in Canberra and a hardworking community leader in Western Australia,” the prime minister said.
“Don made a fine contribution to the Howard Government and particularly to the Coalition during our years in opposition. He was a mentor to many and integral to the success of our Party in the state of Western Australia.”
The MP was not without controversy during his political career. He was one of the few Liberal MPs absent during the apology to the stolen generations and was involved in two expenses scandals in 2012, including nearly $5300 trip to Melbourne for “sittings of parliament”. It was AFL grand final day.
He later said “you might want to check the front bar of the Hilton Hotel on grand final day to see how many members of all parties are there”.
Details of another $5000 trip to Cairns, in far north Queensland, with his wife on “electorate business” in November 2012 did not emerge until a year later. He was shadow parliamentary secretary for local government and met then opposition whip Warren Entsch at the time and the couple took possession of an investment property there following the visit. The MP denied any wrongdoing, but said he would pay back $5259 to “alleviate any ambiguity”.
Politicians from both sides expressed their shock in paying tribute to the MP.
Labor leader Bill Shorten said Randall counted many people in the ALP as friends.
“He was a thoroughly good and decent bloke. West Australian through and through, Don was rightly proud of his fierce advocacy for his state and the people of Canning,” he said.
Don Randall is survived by his wife Julie, and two children, Tess and Elliott.
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