Former federal member for Bendigo John Bourchier has been remembered as an inspirational family man, who was well-liked and respected by Liberal and Labor party colleagues alike.
Mr Bourchier represented Bendigo for more than 10 years between 1972 and 1983 and served as party Whip during the government of Malcolm Fraser from 1975.
He passed away in his adopted home town of Brisbane on Thursday, aged 87.
Bendigo-born Jim Short was the member for Ballarat, where Mr Bourchier was born, between 1975 and 1980 and he remembered his parliamentary colleague as “very gregarious” and “a good mixer”, with friends on both sides of the aisle.
“He mixed very well with his [Coalition] colleagues, but I think he was also well regarded by the Labor party people, so he had friends on both sides of the parliament and that is the mark, in many respects of a good parliamentarian and a good bloke,” he said.
“He was a very popular man and he was gregarious, but he was respectful of other people’s positions ad views.”
Mr Short said the two men’s home town connection helped cement their friendship, despite a “Carlton and Collingwood”-like rivalry that existed at the time, and he was well regarded by his electorate after winning his seat against the odds in 1972.
“We had that somewhat unusual link between us and it brought us closer together than we might have been with some of our other colleagues, so we got on well and we often said we were lucky to represent the electorates that we did,” he said.
Mr Short said as Whip, Mr Bourchier was a key conduit between the Prime Minister and other party members and also served as parliamentary representative on the Liberal Party’s Victorian executive for a number of years and led a delegation of MPs to Russia in 1978.
Mr Bourchier’s daughter Sue said her father had lived well to the end, despite his declining health.
“Despite everything, he still had an interest in politics, he still watched Melbourne play in the AFL and always spoke fondly of them,” she said.
“He had an interesting life and to a large degree he didn’t let it stop him from participating in a lot of things, so he was quite an amazing man and in his journey through life he was very successful.
“I will miss him in a lot of ways but I’ve also got the privilege of lots of wonderful memories.”
Mr Bourchier is survived by his wife Doreen and three other children Robyn, Carol and Helen, grandchildren Justine, Brenden, Emma, Jonathon, Melanie, Georgina, Portia, Zach and John and great-grandchildren Leo, Harry, Alexander, Scarlett and Max.