FEDERAL Independent Member for Clark  Andrew Wilkie has paid tribute to a stalwart in Tasmania’s veterans’ community, using a parliamentary address to honour Chris Coughran’s achievements and fulfill a promise.

Mr Coughran, 67, died in January, shortly after suffering a heart attack at the Defence and Veterans’ Workshop at Dowsing Point.

Mr Wilkie said the workshop was set up more than 20 years ago when a psychiatrist recognised that medication and counselling were not always the best responses to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and other conditions suffered by veterans.

“The workshop has evolved and grown to be a genuinely inclusive and welcoming space for veterans —men and women — to socialise, to support each other and to learn new skills,” he said.

“Sadly, though, long-time member and then president Chris Coughran passed away earlier this year.

“Suffice to say, this was a shocking turn of events not just for his family, but for all of us associated with the workshop who felt a special affection, respect and appreciation for Chris.

“No wonder his funeral was packed and included a diversity of people, reflecting Chris’s service to the Navy, public and community.

“I counted at least two former Tasmanian Premiers in the congregation, and that alone says a lot.

“I seek not only to pay my respects to Chris, but also to honour the promise I made to him late last year, that somehow I’d be seen in the Australian Parliament with the top that the members of the workshop had generously presented to me, and that I now do.”

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