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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 6 Hansard (19 June) . . Page.. 2100..


MR STANHOPE (continuing):

will no doubt leave a void in the union movement in Australia and certainly not just here in the ACT.

It is with deepest sympathy that I, on behalf of the ACT government and of the ACT public service, express our sincerest condolences to Mr Reynolds' family and especially to his wife, Jenny, and to his children, Tayla and Joel.

MS GALLAGHER

(Minister for Education, Youth and Family Services, Minister for Women and Minister for Industrial Relations): It is with great sadness that I rise to speak to this motion today. Matthew Reynolds was a widely respected man who was loved by many. I had the privilege of knowing Matthew and working with him for four years prior to getting elected to this Assembly.

All members will be aware that Matthew Reynolds died last month, aged 38, after suffering a brain aneurysm. His life support machine was turned off on 23 May after his family agreed, in accordance with Matthew's wishes, for his organs to be donated. This was the final gift from a man known for his generosity, particularly to those in need.

Matthew dedicated his working life to giving to others, especially those less fortunate than himself. At Matthew's funeral we were all treated to speeches from people that knew Matthew when he was young, from a teacher that taught him at school and from colleagues that worked with him in the CPSU. Whilst every speech was different, they all had common themes-stories of love and friendship for a boy and a man who is known for his love for his wife, Jenny, and children, Tayla and Joel; who was known for his leadership; who was known for his concern for others, his sense of humour, his commitment to social justice, his commitment to the labour movement and his love of sharing a joke, a story, gossip, a victory, a beer or a coffee with comrades.

The Matthew I knew was all of these things. Matthew was my team leader at the union; he and I shared many hours working together. As a leader, Matthew was fiercely loyal to those working with him. He gave support to work we were doing but, like a true leader, he gave us enough space to learn for ourselves.

I remember fondly the excitement on Matthew's face when I told him once that we had some members who wanted to go on strike about a particular matter. We were driving in a car to Sydney at the time, and Matthew spent much of that time on his mobile phone. By the time we got to Sydney, the national media were chasing a story, members were ready to walk and the bosses were frantic. Matthew looked completely satisfied, and we did manage to resolve the dispute.

Matthew came to the ACT in 1998 as the CPSU national president after two years as the Tasmanian branch secretary. In a journal article at the time of this move, Matthew talked of his journey with the union:

... after a short stint in the education Department, I found myself working for the Department of Veterans Affairs, pretty soon I became caught up in a local industrial dispute. Then before you could say Structural efficiency Principle I became the workplace delegate. Over the next few years I became more and more involved in the union activities, becoming president and then Secretary of the Tasmanian branch.


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