A “political titan”, “man of the people” and “fierce advocate” has been remembered by his successors on the day of his death.
Tony Fletcher, the former independent Russell and Murchison member of the Legislative Council, died on Thursday morning aged 85.
As the news broke throughout the day, a number of current and former members of all three levels of government shared their thoughts on the man’s legacy.
Mr Fletcher served in the state’s upper house from 1981 to 2005 in the electorate which was known as Russell until 1999 when it was renamed Murchison.
Despite being an independent, Mr Fletcher served as the leader of the government in the upper house under both Premiers Robin Gray and Tony Rundle.
His successor and the current independent for Murchison Ruth Forrest said Mr Fletcher was a source of encouragement and advice when she was elected.
She said she admired him as he clearly had the heart of his community in mind, and always did what he believed to be in the best interest of his community.
“He was a fierce advocate for the region and he was not afraid to speak his mind,” Ms Forrest said.
She said there is a photo somewhere of Mr Fletcher handing her the keys to the physical electoral office, in which he left behind constituent information he thought may help.
“I can’t imagine that would happen if the members were of opposing parties.”
Ross Hine was the Mayor of Circular Head during Mr Fletcher’s final years in office, but Mr Hine was also a student of Mr Fletcher’s physical education class at Smithton high school in the 1950s.
“He really was a man of the people,” Mr Hine said.
“He was a great supporter of sport in Circular Head, and football was his forte.
“When he went in to the legislative council, he really represented the people of the region.”
Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein said Mr Fletcher’s passing would be mourned with “great sadness”.
“A typical North-Westerner, Tony was hardworking, determined and honest – one of nature’s true gentlemen,” Mr Gutwein said.
Federal Liberal Braddon MP Gavin Pearce said Tasmania had lost one of its “political titans”.
“His wisdom, wit and caring nature will be sorely missed by those who had the pleasure of knowing him.”