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‘Water warrior’ tribute

By Deniliquin Pastoral Times

Farming and community groups across northern Victoria and southern NSW have paid tribute to ‘water warrior’ John Madigan.

The former Victorian Senator passed away on June 16 in his home town of Hepburn Springs, with family by his side after a battle with cancer.

Their tribute read:

Southern Basin rural communities, especially food producers and those involved in water advocacy, believe the world is a better place for the contribution made my John Madigan, who was our good friend and supporter.

For many years John worked tirelessly to make Australians, and his fellow politicians, aware of flaws in water management, in particular the Murray-Darling Basin Plan and Victoria’s north-south pipeline. His efforts to help our communities will remain in our hearts for a long time.

During his six years in politics John’s ethos centred around being honest, genuine and with a strong desire to pursue justice and truth. Many of today’s politicians could take a leaf from his book.

He gave everything he had to trying to right the wrongs caused to our communities through Basin Plan implementation and poor water policy decisions, always taking the time to engage with those at the coalface. He understood the flow-on impacts to regional cities from policy which adversely impacted food producers.

John was an accomplished blacksmith and even used these skills to help water advocacy organisations, donating a moulded replica Ned Kelly helmet as a raffle prize at an open water forum in Moama in April 2018. 

He was a driving force behind organising a meeting in Barham which attracted one of the biggest turn-outs of politicians ever seen in a small rural town. When that very successful meeting was finished, instead of taking a well earned break he went outside and gave a demonstration of blacksmithing with his portable forge. He often gave up his time for similar demonstrations at small schools across the region.

He was also instrumental in establishment of a Senate Inquiry into the Murray-Darling Basin Plan and followed the inquiry throughout the basin, talking to stakeholders about its impacts. With this issue, like all others in which he was involved, he would spend many days of research to ensure he had a thorough grasp of the issues involved.

John had strong family and community morals and took a genuine, caring interest in issues that affected rural communities. But more than anything, John Madigan was a “genuine good bloke”, who was honest, caring and a friend to many.

Our condolences are sent to his wife Teresa and children Lucy and Jack, who were strong supporters of his efforts to represent his community and hard-working Australians.