CONDOLENCE SPEECH FOR MAJOR GEOFF FREIND

TIM HAMMOND MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR CONSUMER AFFAIRS
SHADOW MINISTER ASSISTING FOR RESOURCES

FEDERAL MEMBER FOR PERTH

E&OE
CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY
ADJOURNMENT SPEECH

Mr (Deputy) Speaker I rise to pay tribute to Geoff Freind, a constituent of the Federal Perth electorate and a Major in the Salvation Army, who tragically died in September while on a preaching tour in Africa.

I also give my condolences to his wife Lyn and his sons Ashley, Steven, Nathan and Samuel, and his parents Allan and Mabel.

Major Friend was a Salvation Army Officer for 34 years, and spent his life ministering to some of our community’s neediest and most marginalised people across Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and in WA.

He was a ‘hands on’ officer; he would be regularly be seen on Friday nights in the pubs in Perth selling the Salvation Army’s publication, the War Cry, and offering a listening ear and a kind face to anyone who needed it. I met him a couple of times in this context at my local, the Scotto in Mount Lawley.

While I did not know him well, by all reports Major Freind was the sort of person who wasn’t having fun unless he was helping others. In his ‘time off’ he coached local junior basketball teams in the Federal Perth electorate. One of his most recent appointments was as the Commanding Officer of the Salvation Army’s Morley Corps. Indeed his parents have worshipped at that Corps for decades. In this context he was not only a respected community leader in my electorate, but one of the local Salvos’ favourite sons. As an MP I can only envy what must have been his profound knowledge of, and connection with, the local community.

Major Freind loved people. His three books – Enjoy the Journey, A Great Journey and Thank You For the Journey – drew heavily on his experiences as a Salvation Army officer journeying with and supporting people who were experiencing difficulties.

The proceeds of sales from his books went to supporting hospitals in Africa. He sent $60,000 to the Chikandkata Hospital in Zambia, which paid for an ambulance, electricity to the mortuary, air conditioning to the pharmacy and plumbing to the operating theatre. He also sent a sea container full of medical supplies, bedding and clothing to the Salvation Army’s Howard Hospital in Zimbabwe.

Major Freind also loved God; his deep and unwavering faith motivated the dedication of his life to the service of others. One of the things that his family has emphasised in eulogising him was that “Geoff loved Jesus, and wanted the world to know him.”

Major Freind was attacked as he went about his business in Malawi just a few weeks ago. In the aftermath of the incident the outcry from the community – both the Salvation Army in WA and the community more broadly – is indicative of a man who lived a big life, who profoundly touched many souls. He died in hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa on 21 September, surrounded by his wife and children.

The Freind family has asked for donations in memoriam to be made to the Salvation Army’s youth ministry in Morley. The ministry provides a range of services for young people in my electorate, including case management, school holiday programmes, mentoring local high school students and running a large youth group on Friday evenings.

In the Salvation Army’s official notice of Major Freind’s death they quote Philippians 1:20-21:

It is my expectation and hope that I won’t be put to shame in anything. Rather, I hope with daring courage that Christ’s greatness will be seen in my body, now as always, whether I live or die. Because for me, living serves Christ and dying is even better. (Common English Bible)

Mr (Deputy) Speaker, the Salvation Army has a custom that when one of their number passes away it is referred to as being ‘promoted to Glory’. For a man who gave his life faithfully serving the Lost, the Last and the Least in God’s Name, I congratulate Major Freind on his promotion.

I thank the House.