Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1997 Week 8 Hansard (27 August) . . Page.. 2481..
MRS CARNELL (Chief Minister): Mr Speaker, I propose that the Assembly express its deep regret at the death of Katie Bender and tender its profound sympathy to her family in their bereavement. I move:
That Members of the Legislative Assembly express their deep sympathy and support for the family and friends of Katie Bender, who was so tragically killed while observing the demolition of the old Royal Canberra Hospital building.
It was with much sadness that we all learnt of the tragic death of Katie Bender on the afternoon of 13 July 1997. Katie died in tragic circumstances on the edge of Lake Burley Griffin while viewing the activities on Acton Peninsula that afternoon with her family. The event that was intended to mark the end of an era was eclipsed by this cruel and unforeseen tragedy, a tragedy compounded for her family by the presence of thousands of spectators on that day. In an ironic and seemingly senseless twist of fate, we have since learnt more about Katie and how precious she was to her family, her community and her school friends, as a result of her death on that particular Sunday afternoon.
Katie was an active young girl, who expected to live a full and meaningful life for many years to come. Katie was born into a Croatian family with a strong religious faith and links with the Croatian community in Canberra. Katie was a popular grade 7 student at St Clare's. I understand that her main interest outside school was enthusiastic participation in the Croatian folk dance group. I was moved to hear the tributes by Katie's friends and others at her funeral. They were heartfelt expressions of how special Katie really was and how her short life touched so many people around her and near to her.
I have met with the family. Their grief is in proportion to the enormous loss they have experienced. I know, like every parent knows, that Katie must be missed every day, and wished for every day as well. I can only hope, as I am sure we all do, that at least time will restore to the Bender family some form of normality in their lives and will help to ease the very intense pain that they are feeling now. Katie is survived by her mother Zora, her father Matee, her sisters Anna and Maria, and her brother David. I am sure that all members of the Assembly join with me in formally expressing our deepest sympathy to Katie's family and friends and in acknowledging that she lived her life to the fullest doing the things that she most enjoyed.