This Council extends its sincerest and deepest sympathies to the family and friends of the late Brian George Mellifont, OAM, and pays tribute to him for his dedicated service to the city and the people of Brisbane.
Thank you very much, Madam Chair; I rise to contribute to this item on the agenda today in memoriam of Brian Mellifont. Brian was a proud life member of the Electrical Trades Union. He joined in 1955 whilst still an apprentice at the Department of Public Works. Contemporaries who he shared that honour with include, of course, Tommy Burns, Nev Warburton and Ken Vaughan.
He served in this Council during one of Brisbane’s biggest periods of change, when we grew from being a big country town to a modern and vibrant city. He served alongside mayors who have left a lasting legacy, including Clem Jones, Frank Sleeman and Roy Harvey. Brian served in Civic Cabinet as the Chairman of the Works Committee which saw him at the forefront of many of these changes.
Those great Labor teams led by the likes of Clem Jones put this city on the path to progress. Brian was an integral part of those Labor administrations that had the vision to deliver us from backyard dunnies and dirt roads. They spent their energies ensuring this Council looked after the suburbs where the working men and women of Brisbane lived.
By working alongside Roy Harvey, particularly, in his role as Chairman of Works, we see their legacy continue to pay dividends for the people of Brisbane—the Queen Street Mall, the legacy of the Expo ’88 and Brisbane Commonwealth Games to name a couple.
While Labor was in the wilderness in Queensland throughout the many years of Brian’s service on Council, he and great Labor mayors carried the torch for the great Australian Labor Party. They faced assaults on their positions from Joh, who went to the extraordinary lengths to remove the Labor administration in the 1970s by changing the way mayors were elected back then, and that of course didn’t work. He was there in 1973 when Labor won 20 of the 21 wards on offer, a result that underlines the admiration Brisbane people had for Labor Councillors like Brian Mellifont at the time.
The Labor administration that Brian was part of in the early 1970s was an important partner for the Whitlam Government. Queensland was very difficult territory for a Labor Prime Minister at the time, but Gough always remembered and valued the partnership between his government and the Labor administration here in Brisbane that Brian was a part of. Brian was a great Labor Councillor; he was a great community leader, and a great family man. He will be sorely missed by his family and his comrades in the Labor Party.
Vale Brian Mellifont.