Monthly Archives: February 2016

Speech – ADJOURNMENT – ‘Vale, Jack Flick.’

2 February 2016

Senator O’SULLIVAN (Queensland) (20:09): I am privileged tonight to rise to reflect upon the life of one of

the most respected businessmen, of one of the most respected business families—in my view—in the history of

Australia. I reflect upon the life of Albert Jack Flick, who passed away on 10 January past. Albert Jack Flick,

known to family and friends as Jack and to business associates as AJ, was born on 17 April 1921 at Bangalow

Cottage Hospital, near Byron Bay. He was the second son and the third child of William Albert and Phyllis

Pearl Flick.

Jack’s father founded WA Flick & Co. For those of us in the chamber who are old enough to remember, it was

of course a famous company right up until the 1980s here in Australia. It was a pest control firm, whose slogan,

‘Remember—one Flick and they’re gone,’ has entered the Australian vernacular. Without a doubt, it is one of the

most famous lines ever expressed in Australian advertising. Jack was the last of the original company directors,

and his passing marks the end of an amazing chapter in Australian business.

Jack’s early years were spent in Tyagarah, Glen Innes and Perth, but in 1928 the family settled in Hornsby, a

northern suburb of Sydney. Jack was educated at Hornsby Primary School and North Sydney Technical High

School, before beginning work with his father in the family pest control business. His early years in Flick & Co

were very hands-on, as is the case for many who evolve through family companies, and he recalled hair-raising

incidents while carrying out cyanide fumigations of ships and buildings before there was any thought of safety

regulations in this relatively new industry. During the Second World War, Flick & Co was declared a protected

undertaking because of the many Defence establishments, hospitals and large industrial concerns, such as the

Newcastle coalfields, which the company serviced.

Jack married Joyce Lillian Mary Bates of Waitara, Sydney, in St Peter’s Anglican Church, Hornsby, on 12 August

  1. They had two daughters, Jennifer Mary and Elizabeth Ann. In 1957 they moved into their new family

home in the nearby suburb of Wahroonga. Jack insisted the large bungalow be completed in timber construction

and finish to demonstrate his total confidence in the protective powers of Flick pest control.

From 1950 the business was reorganised, becoming incorporated as WA Flick & Co Pty Ltd. While WA Flick

still carried the title of chairman of directors, the effective running of the company passed to his two older sons,

William George and Albert Jack, and his son-in-law, Cyril Taylor. Jack’s first role in the newly incorporated

business was to travel all over Australia, cancelling the previous agency agreements and establishing the branches

of the new company. He became the face of Flick & Co in the rural and remote areas. He was travelling away from

home for up to six months of the year and was very grateful that he had such a supportive and understanding wife.

He particularly enjoyed his early trips into the Northern Territory and was also responsible for the company’s

expansion into Papua New Guinea, establishing branches in Port Moresby, Lae and Rabaul. He had many tales to

tell of small planes, remote villages and amazing encounters with the indigenous cultures. Jack was responsible

for the further expansion of Flick & Co into the Pacific region and beyond. In the 1960s he again travelled

extensively, taking a particular interest in the establishment of branches in New Caledonia, Fiji, Hawaii and

Hong Kong—a great success story, in my view, for a business created here in Australia.

During the 1970s Jack’s nephews joined the family business, bringing new ideas for the future. In the mid-1980s

the decision was reluctantly made to sell the company. At the time, Flick & Co was the largest pest control

company in Australia, employing almost 500 Flick servicemen on the road, plus support staff in the offices.

The company had also developed a building division, an agricultural services division, an aerial services

division, a retail products division, a cleaning and restoration division and a hygiene division. It had 15 overseas

branches, mainly around the Pacific but also as far-flung as Cape Town, Trinidad and Barbados. The company’s

infrastructure, outreach and reputation made it the perfect choice for the international takeover.

At the time of this sale in 1986, WA Flick and Co. was not only Australia’s largest pest control company but was

also one of the largest in the world. Significantly, at that time it was also the largest remaining family-owned

company in Australia, which is an amazing title to hold. With Jack’s death, the last firsthand memories of this

iconic Australian company also died.

Privately, Jack was an A-grade competition tennis player and later a competent social golfer. He was a King’s

Scout, a Mason and a justice of the peace. As an adult he studied languages, music, art and Indigenous cultures.

He was a skilled bushman, knowledgeable farmer, entertaining raconteur and an avid fan, with me, of AB ‘Banjo’

Paterson’s poetry—much of which he could recite by heart up to the time of his passing. He enjoyed bushwalking

and, with his wife, was an enthusiastic traveller within Australia and overseas. In the 1990s he sang with the

SydneySiders Express Barbershop Chorus, a barbershop-style choir, and after moving to Toowoomba he enjoyed

membership of the Highfields Probus Club.

He was a devoted husband, father and grandfather; a true gentleman and, passionately, a proud Australian. It was

after his move to Toowoomba that I had the privilege of meeting Jack Flick and some of his family. Jack and

Joyce lived the majority of their lives in Sydney but at the end of the 1990s decided to relocate to the beautiful

City of Toowoomba, where one of their daughters resided at the time. Jack lovingly cared for his wife during

her later years and showed great courage in rebuilding his life after her passing in 2005.

As previously stated, and in closing, Albert Jack Flick passed away on 10 January 2016 and is buried with his

wife in the Toowoomba Garden of Remembrance. He is survived by his two daughters, five grandchildren and

two great-grandchildren. And I can say without fear of contradiction that they can be very, very proud of the

contribution this man made during the course of his lifetime on behalf of that family.

His simple epitaph reads ‘a life well lived’. He was a great man, he was a great family man and he made a great

contribution to a grateful nation, and I say, ‘Vale, Jack Flick.’

Speech – Matters of Public Importance – Turnbull Government record.

1 February 2016

Senator O’SULLIVAN (Queensland) (16:50): I do not want to make a practice of this, but I do have to open

today, in the interests of transparency, with a confession. My confession is that I do not often get excited

by anything that the Greens party says, but today I simply could not believe it when they wanted to invite a

debate with my government on the question of courage. Here we have an antijobs, anti-industry, anti-employee,

antidevelopment party that wants to have a discussion with the Turnbull government on the question of courage.

Well, I can tell you: we are up to it, so sit up, kick your shoes off and have a listen.

It took a lot of courage to implement policies in this nation to increase jobs—last year, under the coalition, over

300,000 new jobs. That is in the face of a party that wants to have a discussion about courage—an antijobs party,

a party that publishes on its own website that in the next five years it wants to get rid of the hundreds of thousands

of jobs in the coal industry, wiping places like Central Queensland, Mackay, Rockhampton and Gladstone off

the face of the map without any regard to the hundreds of thousands of families and the economies of all of those

communities. So I am happy to have a discussion with you about courage in relation to that. Sixty per cent of the

jobs that were created by us last year were full-time jobs—180,000 jobs. That is 180,000, probably, mums and

dads and other forms of family structures around the country who now have a better standard of living because

our government has had the courage to implement those decisions and those policies that are job-creating. So I

am happy to talk to you about courage there.

I am also happy to have a discussion with you about courage when you are a pro unlawful immigration party.

You actually promote unlawful immigration. So if you want to talk about courage, there is the courage of our

government to stop the boats, to save the 1,200 deaths on the high seas—a fact you have never mentioned. I have

been here two years and not once have the Greens and Labor made reference to the fact of that terrible loss of

life. Under our government, under the courage it takes to stop the boats, not one death on the high seas. So if

you want to talk about courage, I am happy to talk about courage.

Let’s talk about courage with children in detention—1,992 children were in detention under the Greens and Labor.

We have had the courage to reduce that, to put in place policies and measures to reduce that now to fewer than

  1. They are the sorts of things that take courage if you want to have a discussion.

We have committed, in somewhat difficult financial times, to a $50 billion infrastructure plan. That is over three

times the commitment to the Snowy River scheme, in difficult economic circumstances. We have got the courage

to go ahead and do it. We have got the people who are going to manage the economy to make sure that we deliver

on it. That is courage if you want to have a talk about courage.

If you want to talk about courage: the development of northern Australia. This is the place where you want work

practices to change, where you want things in the agricultural industry to change to make it almost unviable. This

is the place where you, with the Labor Party, wiped off hundreds of millions of dollars of value across family

farms and enterprises right across northern Australia and brought a billion dollar industry to its knees in less than

one hour. You want to talk about courage, I will tell you what courage is: to restore that industry. Courage is

to bring it back from death’s door, as we have done, as this government have done in our term and restore it to

where it is now—an absolutely viable industry, allowing some of those people to have survived.

I am happy to talk to you about courage today and any other day. It was a mistake for you to put the word

‘courage’ in your motion. If you want to talk about courage, it takes courage for a country under this government

to go ahead and finalise three major trade agreements and the TPP when you and the Greens for seven years

resisted it. It has increased—

Senator Whish-Wilson interjecting

Senator O’SULLIVAN: I know you don’t like to hear this. It has increased the value of agricultural exports

by 29 per cent—over $10 billion. So now we have thousands of families, my heart constituency, who are far

better off living in northern Australia and right across agricultural sector. This year alone, we have had a 29 per

cent increase in the volume of agricultural exports in certain classes. Barley, canola and chickpeas are all up.

Chickpeas are up 39 per cent. It takes courage for a government to fast-track and enter into those relations to

make sure that they produce a deal that is in the interests of their country.

It would be unfair if I did not mention the fact that our friends in the Greens party also have courage. It takes

courage to mislead the Australian people on the impacts of climate change, to frighten people so it impacts on

their business plans. It takes courage to mislead the Australian people on kangaroo populations to a point where

it makes it difficult for us to get the kangaroo harvesting industry up and going. It would provide 4,000 jobs in the

bush and over a hundred million dollar boost in to economies and communities all across western Queensland,

New South Wales and a little bit of Victoria. It takes courage to come out and say you are going to destroy the

coalmining industry and all the tens and tens and tens of thousands of jobs and the knock-on jobs for families

that that will have.

It takes courage to go to the Australian people and tell them you are going to advocate the introduction of death

duties—if you ever find your way into a position to be able to do it. It takes courage to elevate policy positions

that will destroy economies and economic activities in rural communities in your antijobs and antidevelopment


In closing, any time, any place, here or outside, that you want to have a debate with this government about what

we have done and what you have not done, make sure you plant the word ‘courage’ fairly in the sentence and

make the job of turning you down as easy as it has been. Thank you for the opportunity.