Last train to Boree Creek with Tim Fischer on AUSTRALIAN STORY

Australian Story
Source: ABC


Australian Story has had a long association with former National Party leader and Deputy Prime Minister Tim Fischer, filming a number of stories over the past two decades.

Just weeks before his death, the Fischer family invited the program along on what would be Tim’s last public engagement – a train trip to his hometown of Boree Creek to raise funds for a local cancer centre.

"Our time together is enriched because we know it’s coming to an end," said Tim’s wife Judy Brewer at Boree Creek.

"And you value everything you do together and you live your life as we all should live it, that we don’t know what tomorrow holds."

When Tim Fischer retired from politics in 2001 to spend more time with his young family tributes flowed thick and fast from both sides of Parliament.

And following his death from cancer on August 21 at the age of 73, the same bipartisan spirit was on display.

"As a human being he was a complete portrayal of decency, the sort of bloke you’d want to be," said Kym Beazley, former Labor Party leader and now Governor of Western Australia.

"He should be remembered with great affection by people who want decent people in public life," said former Prime Minister John Howard.

Mr Fischer's remarkable career began as a 20-year-old conscript fighting in the jungles of Vietnam and ended in the Vatican as Australia's top diplomat.

One of his best known contributions as a politician came with the role he played in reforming Australia’s gun laws following the Port Arthur massacre in 1996.

Despite the risks of alienating his National Party base, the “old soldier” was resolute in his conviction that the gun laws must change.

"It was a moment of political truth for Tim Fischer," said The Australian newspaper’s Editor-at-Large, Paul Kelly. "And this highlighted perhaps his greatest quality, sheer courage … he understood this was going to be really difficult for the National Party constituency but he committed to the cause."

Producer: Ben Cheshire


Australian Story: Monday, August 26, 2019 at 8pm AEST