Outgoing independent MP Rob Oakeshott has brought Julia Gillard to tears with an emotional tribute to the former prime minister in parliament today.
Mr Oakeshott, who announced his retirement from politics on Wednesday, revealed he had sent a personal text message to Ms Gillard ten minutes before last night’s Labor party room ballot in which she was ousted as leader.
"I hope you got my text," Mr Oakeshott said to Ms Gillard in his valedictory speech before asking her if she would mind if he shared its contents.
After a nod from Ms Gillard, Mr Oakeshott said he had told Ms Gillard in the message, "Your father would be proud of you".
Clapping erupted across the chamber and public gallery.
Clearly moved and with tears forming in her eyes, Ms Gillard nodded several times at Mr Oakeshott’s words.
Tearing up himself, Mr Oakeshott added: “I’m a father of daughters and I am very proud of her.”
The NSW MP who won his seat of Lyne from the Nationals in 2008 said Ms Gillard had remained true to her agreement with the independents and committed to getting legislation that benefitted regional Australia through parliament.
"I can only form my judgements on what's available to me....I am going to say that through my eyes a person who I knew a bit about as education minister and deputy prime minister but then got to know very well over these years because we had to upheld her part of the agreement," he said.
"I say dip my lid and say, 'well done prime minister'."