Don Randall has been remembered by his Liberal colleagues with tears and tales of admiration for his brutally honest and determined style.
The MP died suddenly from a suspected heart attack in Boddington on Tuesday, aged 62.
The federal member for Canning for five consecutive terms was found unresponsive in his car after spending the day – in characteristic fashion – meeting voters in his electorate.
Senator David Johnston could not hold back tears while speaking with ABC radio on Wednesday, describing Mr Randall as a very good friend.
“He was a very hard-working member of parliament who took his responsibilities extremely seriously,” he said.
“Many people will wake up this morning in his electorate thinking ‘the comfort and security I had with Don Randall as my member is gone’.”
Senator Johnston said Mr Randall took great satisfaction from achieving things for “the little guy, the person who had no voice, the person who was being mistreated by one of the three tiers of government”.
“Don would muscle up.
“He was just a model Liberal in Western Australia. The party has taken a huge blow in losing Don.”
He would not tolerate non-performance, Senator Johnston said.
And those who dissatisfied him were told about it in no uncertain terms.
Mr Randall’s sparring partner Alannah MacTiernan, who gave him a good run for his money at the 2010 federal election, recalled their many stoushes.
“Don and I were of course noted political foes for some decades,” Ms MacTiernan, now Labor’s federal member for Perth, told reporters in Perth.
“But it’s true to say that over the last 18 months, while we had a fair bit of parliamentary biffo, at a personal level, all of the animosity was put to one side.”
They even shared a passion for Cuba, she said, revealing he used to sneak a cigar or two around parliament.
And they fought for the common cause of WA “against our fellows in the east”.
“You do build up a certain camaraderie that certainly can transcend party lines,” Ms MacTiernan said.
Mr Randall’s staff issued a tribute to their boss, saying he was a fair dinkum MP who put his electorate first – even if it meant ruffling a few feathers.
“He was our boss, our mentor, our friend and someone we all admired greatly,” they said.
“He worked hard for the people of Canning and always put their needs first.”
WA Local Government Minister Tony Simpson, who holds the state seat of Darling Range, which takes in some of the areas in the federal seat of Canning, described Mr Randall as a larger than life character who always fought for his community.
He was like “a dog with a bone” and a king of doorknocking, Mr Simpson said.
Premier Colin Barnett said he was saddened and shocked by Mr Randall’s sudden death.