Industry this week has mourned the loss of Senator Alex Gallacher.
Gallacher, who passed away after a two year battle with lung cancer, was described as ‘a transport man to the bootstraps’.
Having worked as a truck driver, labourer and airline ramp operator before joining the Transport Workers’ Union in 1988, Gallacher became the Branch Secretary of South Australia in 1996 before being elected to the Senate of Australian Parliament in 2010, where he served until his recent passing 30 August 2021.
In the Senate he was a staunch advocate for road safety, also chairing several parliamentary committees, including on foreign affairs, trade and economics.
As a director of industry fund TWUSUPER, Alex advocated for the financial interests of transport workers in retirement.
In a statement issued overnight, TWUSuper called Gallacher a voice in the Senate for the transport Industry, for safety, and countless other issues serving the Australian community.
“We hope that some of what he took to the Senate was honed during his time serving on our Board and the various Committees,” TWUSUPER said.
Gallacher was also chair of the Investment Committee where he established protocols and culture which are still followed today according to the Victorian Transport Association.
“Alex had the skill to solve complex problems by using common sense and the wisdom gained over many years of listening to people to people from all walks of life,” said VTA CEO Peter Anderson.
“He possessed an uncanny ability to separate fact from fiction. The VTA was fortunate to work with Alex in his various transport industry representative roles, developing a respect for his genuine interest in advocating for the prosperity of the industry and its workers,” he said.
“We extend our sincere sympathies to his wife Paola, his four adult children, and his many friends and colleagues.”
TWUSUPER said Gallacher knew what it felt like to work, earn a living and to be embedded in the transport industry — an industry he cared so much about.
That care went beyond just trucking and logistics, but extended to all aspects of transport and involvement in many issues including road safety and saving lives.
He brought a sharp mind, a no-nonsense attitude and sense of responsibility to the Senate and to the TWUSUPER Board where he served from 1996 according to the TWUSUPER statement.
Current Chair of the TWUSUPER Investment Committee Paul Ryan, served with Gallacher said he was respected by fellow TWUSUPER Board members from both the TWU and those representing transport businesses.
“His ability to ‘cut through’ complex investment issues with common sense made it much easier for the Board to make crucial investment decisions with members’ interests at the heart of their decision-making,” said Ryan.
“I recall several occasions when serving on the Investment Committee, where a slick sales presentation by a fund manager selling their wares would be pulled apart by Alex. He didn’t suffer fools and could quickly separate fact from fiction.”
Sentiments that are echoed by Frank Sandy, TWUSUPER CEO, who remembers Gallacher as a gifted intellect and persuasive speaker.
“At TWUSUPER, we were fortunate to have Alex Gallacher as a long-serving Board member where Alex’s views and insights brought clarity to issues and always with a strong sense of service. He was a man of deep intelligence, passion and care,” he said.