17-09-48 to 12-05-12
South Australia

It is with great regret that the E-bulletin informs readers of the death of John Lee, the former President of the CWU's South Australian branch.

John served as an official of the union for 25 years after coming from the field in the tradition of the then Australian Telecommunications Employees Association (ATEA).

He had begun work with Telstra as a Technician-in-Training in 1966.

He was elected Branch Assistant Secretary in October 1986 and served in that position until the resignation of Gerry Kandelaars from the position of Secretary in 2003.

John then took up the vacant position of Branch Secretary. When the Telecommunications and Services and the Postal and Telecommunications branches subsequently amalgamated in 2007 John became President of the merged organisation.

John retired from the CWU last year only to be shortly afterward diagnosed with a serious illness.

John will be remembered for his long and committed service to the CWU and its members, for his genial personality and -perhaps not least - his passion for motor sports!

The CWU extends it sympathy to John's family for their loss.

Vale : John William Lee. [South Australian Parliament

The Hon. G.A. KANDELAARS (15:21): On 12 May, a great mate of mine, John Lee, passed away aged just 62. John William Lee was born in Prospect to Jim and Dora Lee on 17 September 1948 and moved to Port Augusta at the age of two when his father was employed there working for the commonwealth railways. In 1966, John was employed by the then postmaster-general's department as a technician in training and was assigned to the Port Augusta exchange.

In 1970 he married the love of his life, Lesley, and they went on to have three children-Rachel, Bianca and Steven. In 1972, John was appointed as a technical officer in training and he undertook that training at the Kilkenny TAFE, here in Adelaide. When he completed his training he was assigned to the telegraph and data section in Waymouth Street, where he worked until he was elected as assistant secretary of the ATEA in 1986.

I first met John when he came onto the branch council of the then South Australian branch of the ATEA in the early 1980s. With John's support I became branch secretary of the CWU T&S SA/NT branch in 1992 and he remained my assistant until 2003 when he became the branch secretary of the then CEPU T&S SA/NT branch. This move facilitated the eventual amalgamation of the CEPU T&S and P&T branches in South Australia and Northern Territory in 2007, at which time John became the president of the combined branches.

John was an outstanding and dedicated union official who gave his all for members. He had great empathy for those who needed the assistance of the union. He was well regarded by his peers and respected by employers who dealt with him on behalf of members. John was seconded by the union's divisional office to negotiate a number of national agreements with employers because of his expertise and the respect in which he was held.

As John's son Steven said at his funeral, 'John worked on John time'; that is, he was not to be rushed, and he kept some unusual hours. In fact, it was not uncommon for John to get into the office at 10 in the morning, but I could also ring him at 10 or later at night and he would still be in the office working. For those of us who have been union officials, we know how difficult the task is. John's efforts were truly remarkable given his 25 years as a full-time union official. John was granted a much deserved life membership of the union in November last year.

Beyond John's union history, he was also a dedicated family man who was married to Lesley for over 40 years. He loved his kids, Rachel, Bianca and Steven, and was proud of their achievements. He welcomed their partners, Sean, Jason and Lisa, into the family, and he was also a proud grandfather, who doted on his grandkids, Adele, Eva and Huxley. John would do anything he could to help his family. Tuesday night was one night that he would set aside to be at home for the family dinner. It was a coming together of the family that he loved so much. John had a very full life, not only through his work and family but also within the local community. He was involved in the Modbury Kiwanis Club, where he was vice-president.

The real tragedy of John's untimely death was that he had only just retired in July of last year. I know that John and Lesley had many plans for John's retirement. They had hoped to travel, with more time together and more time for the family, in particular their grandchildren. Sadly, this was not to be the case.

For Lesley, these words say it all: 'My love, my strength, my life'.

My thoughts remain with Lesley and the family throughout this difficult time.

Lesley, whilst John has left us, he will certainly not be forgotten.

Vale, John William Lee.



RIP 12-01-12

It is with great sadness that the CWU Divisional Office advises members of the death of Ray Richardson, an Industrial Officer with the CWU Victorian Branch.

Ray had been suffering with liver problems for some time, his illness got dramatically worse in December and he passed away peacefully in his sleep at home on the 12th January.

Ray performed many roles on behalf of the union movement but will be remembered best by CWU members for his integrity and generosity in dealing with individual member issues, his unsurpassed skills in the Industrial Relations Commission and his deep commitment to the union movement.

The CEPU extends its condolences to Ray's partner, Sue, children Dillon, Louise and Alana and other members of his family.

The following is an extract from an unfair dismissal case transcript that Ray was working on before he passed away:-

Extract from Transcript

Commissioner Ryan Melbourne 12 Jan 2012 THE COMMISSIONER : I then want to put on the record a comment. I received an email yesterday internally from within FWA which advised me that Mr Ray Richardson only has a few days to live. I presume everyone else knows about it if I have got it. I just want to express my deepest sympathies to the union and to Mr Richardson's family and friends. I have known Mr Richardson for many years. He has always been a very honourable union official. I have been a union official in causes with him, and I have been a union official fighting him strenuously when I was in a different union. But I found him to be a very honourable gentleman in all the time I have had to deal with him. And I mention it because he was the first advocate for Mr Rushiti in these proceedings. So please pass on my sympathies to everyone.