The reconciliation movement lost one of its greatest champions with the passing of Rick Farley, director of the Edmund Rice Centre, Phil Glendenning said today.
“Rick was a great fighter for reconciliation and justice for Indigenous people. His death is a huge loss to our movement and to Australian society in general,” Mr Glendenning said.
Mr Glendenning said that while Executive Director of the National Farmers’ Federation, Mr Farley was a key figure in the successful passage of the Native Title Act.
“It would have been easy to play lowest common denominator politics with the rights of Indigenous people, but that was never Rick’s way,” he said.
“Rick stood up to the scare campaigns and calmly defended the Act and the rights of Indigenous people.
“In doing so, Rick changed the face of Australia. He showed that there was nothing to fear and everything to gain by sitting down with Indigenous people and negotiating as equals.
“Rick was a man who saw where bridges needed to be built and people brought closer together.
“Every ounce of his will and considerable talents was devoted to reconciliation, justice for Indigenous people and protection of the environment.”
Mr Glendenning said that Mr Farley was also a great friend and supporter of the Edmund Rice Centre.
“Our condolences go out to Rick’s wife, Linda and his children. I hope that at a time of such sadness for them, they will be comforted by the fact that Rick will live on through the positive example and inspiration he gave to so many people,” Mr Glendenning said.