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Leader of the Opposition, Matthew Guy

While today we celebrate Denis Napthine’s career and his service and contribution to Victoria, I want to pay personal tribute to the retirement of a friend, colleague and mentor.

Following a successful career as a veterinarian, Dr Napthine was elected to Parliament in 1988 in the seat of Portland and in 2002, following redistribution, he became the Member for South West Coast. Dr Napthine served his communities with passion, drive and results.

During the Kennett Government, Dr Napthine was appointed as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Health from 1992-96, Minister for Youth and Community Services from 1996-99 and Treasurer in 1999.

Following the election of the Bracks Government in 1999, Dr Napthine served the Liberal Party as Leader of the Opposition, where I was his Chief of Staff.

With the election of the Baillieu Government in December 2010, Dr Napthine served with distinction as Minister for Ports, Major Projects, Regional Cities and Racing.

In March 2013, Dr Napthine was elected by his Liberal Party colleagues to the role of Premier.   He served with distinction and honour, providing strong leadership and vision to the Liberal-Nationals Government. It was an honour to serve in his Cabinet.

In his time as Premier, Dr Napthine oversaw the rebuilding of Victoria’s economy which provided the foundation for an ambitious infrastructure program.  He was a Premier with a vision for a comprehensive, fully-funded transport infrastructure plan which is so missing today.  History will record Denis Napthine as being on the right side of the debate on the need for the East West Link.

Denis is a friend, a colleague and an inspirational politician. We share a birthday, a friendship and a strong belief in the Liberal Party as the best party to govern this great state.

While Denis often held a position as leader, or frontbencher in his 27 year parliamentary career, he never, ever forgot his electorate, firstly Portland, then South West Coast. Every time I have visited him in his seat I have always admired how proud Denis is of the south west and of his lifelong connection to this part of Victoria. I have no doubt that he will remain a huge advocate for its future.

My very best wishes to Denis, to Peggy and their three sons Jack, Edward and Tom. Denis has a wonderful family and he now deserves this chance to spend much more time with them.

Media:  Tony Barry        [email protected]         0419 600 879

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