Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has paid tribute to Saul Same who has passed away.
A giant of the textile industry, Same was a noted philanthropist and a stalwart of the Labor Party.
Born in British-mandate Palestine in 1919, the family moved to Australia when Same was five years old.
He served in the airforce during WWII before moving into the clothing industry.
Describing Same as “one of our most loyal sons”, Shorten hailed him as “a gifted entrepreneur, a brilliant businessman and an extraordinarily generous philanthropist.
He added, “All of us in the Australian Labor Party salute Saul Same’s remarkable life of achievement and his decades of unmatched service: to our movement, to Australia and to the people of Israel.
“Saul came to Australia as the child of immigrants and grew up on a Western Australian farm. He walked five miles to school each day, four of them on his family’s property.
“In 1944, still wearing his RAAF uniform, Saul walked into the Comfort Shirt and Underclothing factory in Fitzroy to cover for his father-in-law who had fallen ill.
“Saul rapidly transformed that small business of just 12 employees making polo shirts for the army into the iconic Glo-Weave – a household name for any Australian who watched In Melbourne Tonight.
“Swift success did not change Saul, it only elevated his humility, his integrity and his great loyalty.
“Prime Minister Bob Hawke put it best when he introduced Saul to Queen Elizabeth II as the ‘most honourable man in Australia’.
“Truly, Saul Same walked with Kings but never lost the common touch.
“Saul dined with Governors-General, he advised Prime Ministers and he offered four generations of Labor leaders the wisdom of his counsel and through it all remained a humble, courteous, decent man.
“No words can repay the debt Labor owes to Saul Same. We offer our heartfelt condolences to all who loved him and everyone he loved. May he rest in eternal peace.”
Shadow Attorney General and Member for Isaacs Mark Dreyfus together with Member for Melbourne Ports Michael Danby noted that Same “became a legendary philanthropist, giving generously to social and educational projects in the developing nation of Israel, for which he was awarded the Israel Goldstein Prize in 1992 by the Keren Hayesod Foundation, one of just four Australian recipients.”
They added, “In the early 1950s he started to organise meetings for federal Labor leaders with the Melbourne Jewish community.
“For the next half-century, Mr Same delivered unwavering support to the Labor cause. He was a valued friend and adviser to every Labor leader who came through the ranks during that time, and was particularly treasured by the late Gough Whitlam, Bob Hawke, Kim Beazley and Julia Gillard.”
Dreyfus said, ““The events held at his home in Armadale in support of the party before every federal election were Labor legend. I valued his friendship and advice immensely.”
Danby added, “My friend ‘Avshalom’ – as he was known to the congregation of Elwood Shule – and I sat together at synagogue over the last decade of his 96 years.
“He continued to keenly follow politics, especially of his beloved friends in the leadership of Australian Labor.”
Same’s funeral will take place at Springvale Cemetery at 1pm on Friday.