Goss remembered for reform in time of need

HE WAS once the most popular man in Australian politics, and yesterday both sides of politics praised Wayne Goss's reforms.

Mr Goss, the first Labor Premier after three decades of the National Party domination of Queensland parliament, died yesterday after a long battle with brain tumours. He was 63.

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman has offered Mr Goss's family a state funeral.

In a joint statement Mr Goss's wife Roisin, and children Ryan and Caitlin, said Mr Goss had been proud to serve Queensland.

"As a family we mourn the man we love; as Queenslanders we join with so many others in gratitude for everything Wayne did for our community and our state," it read.

"In Wayne's own words from 1996, 'Thank you, Queensland. You've been good to me. I hope I've left you a better place'."

Born in Mundubbera, west of Maryborough, Mr Goss was raised in the western Brisbane suburb of Inala before studying law at the University of Queensland. He worked for the Aboriginal Legal Service and in private practice before entering politics.

Mr Goss was elected premier in 1989 after the National Party, led for the majority by Joh Bjelke-Petersen, dominated Queensland Parliament for 32 years.

He instituted the Fitzgerald Inquiry reforms, decriminalised homosexuality and dismantled the "Bjelkemander" system which over-represented National and Liberal areas.

Queensland Labor Party leader Annastacia Palaszczuk said Mr Goss would be remembered as "one of the great premiers of our state".

"Not only did he lead the Labor Party back into government in 1989 after 32 years in the wilderness, he led a government that changed forever the face of our state and the expectations of Queenslanders," she said.

"His initiatives in areas such as education, health, the environment and accountability set new and higher standards for our state."

Similarly Mr Newman said Mr Goss drove "much-needed reform" in Queensland.

"He drove much-needed reform in many aspects of Queensland's public life, including social policy, electoral laws and reform of the police service and broader public service," he said.

"He did so with tenacity, determination and courage. Those attributes were also very much at the forefront as he battled cancer."