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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 1 Hansard (13 December) . . Page.. 283..


MS TUCKER (continuing):

his stature in the Canberra community. I read in the paper that some person thought he was the mayor of the underbelly of Canberra. I am not quite sure what "underbelly" means, but I feel that he was part of a cultural group in the Canberra community, which, if anyone has ever doubted that Canberra has soul, would persuade doubters otherwise.

David was very much part of that, the group in our community who are the artists, the musicians, the actors, and the passionate people who express themselves through their amazing creativity and gifts. I also saw him alluded to as, I think, a big animal, or a great animal, in the paper, which also has meaning for me, because he was such a big person. He always had such a wonderful capacity to express whatever he was feeling, even if it was dark, which it was on occasions.

His theatre was so often big. His Splinters work with the fire was huge. I can remember going to those events: you had to get into a boat and go across the lake to one of them. It was on one of those little islands in the lake.

He always displayed such courage in his work. He was also a very talented musician and brought his music to my life, and to my political work in the support he gave the Greens. He also supported me personally, and my children had a long association with him. It was very difficult to tell them about his death, because he was very important to them in their development, through theatre.

I guess that, in this place, we do have a lot of discussions about what it is we can bring to the lives of children to help them love themselves, and I think David, the Canberra Youth Theatre, and the work of those people were very important to my kids' lives. They were also important to lots of other people's lives in Canberra, including the lives of lots of young people, often young people whom no-one else even liked. I noticed that about David and the Youth Theatre: in fact, one mother said to me, "The only place my daughter is liked is at Youth Theatre," and that for me was such a gift and such a picture of what those people achieved.

Roland, who works with me, is part of that. He is away overseas at the moment, and it has also been very difficult for him to learn of the loss of David, not being here, and not being with all the people that he loves and sharing in the grief. I want to put on the record that I think David Branson was a very special person for the Canberra community.

Death of Mr David Branson

MS DUNDAS (6.26): I also wish to mention David Branson and thank Kerrie for her words. I did not know him well, but I did spend some time in the arts community in the ACT, and you cannot do that and not know of David, and not know of his great passion. I am sure that his loss is being felt, not just within the arts community but personally by many people in the ACT and across Australia. I know his loss will be keenly felt.

On a lighter note, Mr Speaker, after this first week of sitting I wish to take this opportunity to thank my staff, Llewellyn and Merri, for their support, especially over this week-they have been invaluable. I also wish to thank my fellow members. I am proud that, in this first week, my first sitting week, I have helped to make laws and amend them to achieve greater accountability. I look forward to working with all of the members in the new year. Thank you.


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