Wednesday 05 May, 2021

The Hon. V.A. TARZIA (Hartley—Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Correctional Services) (15:38): Can I compliment you, sir, on the calm and comprehensive way in which you deliberate these matters—very well done.

I rise today to honour a great man and friend from my electorate of Hartley—the late George Scherer. I am also delighted that today his wife of 44 years, Vivette Scherer, has joined us in the gallery to hear his much-deserved tribute. George's whole life was about dedication to his family and service to his local community. I first met George back in 2012 and we remained firm friends from that time forward.

George was always the first to offer assistance, lend a wise and friendly ear and offer sage advice on local issues. His wife, Vivette, or Viv as we know her, remembers being invited to dinner by a teacher friend back in 1976 and being told, 'By the way, there will be a scholarly friend of my husband there as well.' This is where Viv and George met and, as they say, the rest is history. They were married by Reverend Walter Stafford on 18 December 1976 in the then Gartrell Memorial Methodist Church in Rose Park.

When Viv first met George, he was tenured as a lecturer at Adelaide Teachers College, lecturing in the sociology of education and history. He had studied at Adelaide University. George continued lecturing at Adelaide Teachers College and tutored at Adelaide University. During that time, his contract at Adelaide Teachers College had finished and there was no more funding to keep him on; however, the students and staff wanted him and somehow he gained an extra year there. He studied law at night while juggling working, law lectures and tutorials.

After that year, George went back teaching at a school in Elizabeth and then Gilles Plains High School. During this time, Viv and George's first daughter, Katrina, was born in 1981. George gained his law degree in 1984. He could have done his honours in law but chose to work for his family. He wanted a new start as a lawyer. Their second daughter, Suzanne, was born in 1984.

George's first legal job was in motor vehicle accidents. About a year later, he got the job as a lawyer for Business and Consumer Affairs. Because of his role, he was chosen as the South Australian delegate for uniform credit legislation. He travelled around Australia for meetings trying to get consensus on how to reform credit laws. In this role, he had an opportunity to make laws for the better. He improved the prepaid funeral laws. He made selling land safer by making sure that there was disclosure of anything potentially harmful.

In 1993, George and Viv moved to Tranmere. A few years later, he gained the job of principal regulation and access officer at the Office of the Technical Regulator for the state government of South Australia. This was in energy markets and programs. He loved his job, and he met many interesting people, experts in their field, such as in the electrical, plumbing and fire areas.

Twice the family suffered from major health setbacks. In 1996, Viv became very ill and George looked after her, ensuring that all her care needs were taken care of. In 2003, the family was again challenged when his daughter Katrina developed stage 4 cancer, but George once again did everything in his power to save his daughter and eventually she got through the disease. Several years on, in July 2016 George was offered a package and he retired at the age of 68. This allowed him to further indulge his passion for community service.

George, Viv and the family were heavily involved in their local Pilgrim Lutheran Church, just up the road from where they lived. George loved helping people. He was treasurer for Athelstone Kindergarten and then parent representative at Athelstone Primary School, Magill Primary School and Norwood Morialta High School while the children were at school. Of course, without saying so, he was a member of the Liberal Party for many years.

For a good deal of his life he loved dealing with politics and helping out and was elected to a number of committees. He read widely and had a bird's-eye view of the world. He was on the Lutheran Constitution Committee of the South Australian District for several years and he wrote the constitution for the Gums Land Care Group and was also their secretary.

During his life, he travelled about 20 times to Germany to be with his mother and later to look after her. On one of his trips to Hamburg with Viv, he met up with Daryl Maddern, who was his commonwealth counterpart for uniform credit legislation, and he invited George to catch the train from Hamburg to Paris to sit in on an OECD meeting.

Possibly the greatest joy for him and the whole family was when little William was born on 18 August 2020 to Katrina and Michael. George was a proud Opa. George loved his last Christmas and said it was the most joyous Christmas with Michael and baby William. Vivette thanks God for the blessing of having been married to George for 44 years. May he rest in peace.