ARCHBISHOP Julian Porteous of Hobart has likened Brian Harradine to “a rare type of person” described in Scripture – “a just man”.
Archbishop Porteous made the comparison in his homily at Mr Harradine’s state funeral at St Mary’s Cathedral, Hobart, on April 22.
Mr Harradine, who died on April 14 aged 79, was a staunch Catholic and Australia’s longest-serving independent senator, representing Tasmania from 1975 to 2005.
Former prime minister John Howard was among hundreds of mourners paying tribute to Mr Harradine at the funeral.
Federal ministers Eric Abetz and Kevin Andrews, Tasmania’s Governor Peter Underwood and Premier Will Hodgman were also among those attending.
Archbishop Porteous told the congregation that as “a just man” Mr Harradine had gained respect as a man of high principle and integrity.
“He is seen by allies and by those who opposed him as a man who would not go down paths of expediency or compromise in order to achieve his ends,” he said.
“His beliefs were oriented to the good of others.
“Holding to these beliefs he would negotiate a way forward whereby the truth of his views was preserved.
“Brian worked tirelessly for the common good seeking to promote the conditions necessary for the advancement of individuals; he sought to protect the dignity of human life from conception to natural death.”
Archbishop Porteous said Mr Harradine’s Catholic faith was the inspiration of what he did.
“It motivated and informed his actions. He did not seek to impose his beliefs but allowed his faith to provide the inspiration to his decisions and actions,” he said.
“Brian leaves behind an extraordinary legacy of good.
“His was not the path of shallow expediency or short-gain compromise.
“His life witnesses to the fact that truth and principle are what makes things ultimately fruitful.”
Archbishop Porteous said Mr Harradine was a humble man who never sought personal advancement.
“Humility is the mark of the just man,” he said.
“Secondly, a just man sees his life essentially as service.
“This is how Brian Harradine went about this life in politics.
“He sought to assist the needs of the poor and struggling.
“He defended the sacredness of human life, speaking out for those who could not speak for themselves – the children in the womb.
“He dedicated his work as an independent senator to the advancement of the State of Tasmania.”
Mr Harradine’s first wife Barbara died in 1980. They had six children.
In 1982, he married Marian, a widow with seven children.