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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 01 Hansard (Tuesday, 9 February 2010) . . Page.. 5 ..


Children’s Association, and then in Canberra became the first general manager of the National Press Club. It has been said that she helped lay the foundations of the club’s successes. Her grandson commented at her funeral that in this role and being a promoter of women’s rights, she was not afraid to take on the boys club of the established media at the time.

She became involved in the Australia Day organisation in 1976, and on her retirement in 1988 she took over the role of president of the Australia Day Committee in the ACT on the retirement of the “king of Canberra”, the late Fred Daly. The present chief executive of the Australia Day Council, Warren Pearson, said recently that Marjorie’s dedication to the growth of Australia Day and the Australian of the Year awards is of particular note. He said:

Australia Day is now a day that reaches all Australians, and Marjorie’s contribution over the last few decades has paralleled the growth of Australia Day.

Her list of community involvement was extensive, and we have heard from other members this morning just how extensive. She was a founding member of the Australia-British Society in 1972 and national president from 1995. She was a social worker at the Canberra Hospital, protocol officer at the US embassy, worked on the Centenary of Federation Committee, was coordinator, treasurer and life patron of the Women of the Year luncheon, a director of the Menzies scholarship, and committee member of the National Opera Festival, to list just some of the positions she held.

She has been described as a tireless worker and a determined, no-nonsense campaigner who knew how to get things done for the benefit of others. Reverend Brian Douglas, who conducted her funeral service, said that everyone, clergy included, had been soldiers in her battle to combat inequality and disadvantage. She once told Reverend Douglas: “I have been poor. I know what it’s like to be poor, which is why I have to be generous now.”

Her awards included being made an Officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia in 2006, a Member of the British Empire in 1999, and receiving an Order of Australia Medal in 1989. It is a measure of the contribution Marjorie and her husband, Keith, made to our country that former Prime Minister John Howard paid his respects at both of their funerals.

Marjorie was a prominent member of many societies and community groups, and through her contribution she touched the lives of many. She will be long remembered by Canberra and the broader Australian community. On behalf of the ACT Greens, I extend our deepest sympathies to her children, David, who is a Greens colleague, Jane and Judith, their partners, grandchildren and friends. She was a remarkable woman.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella): I also offer my condolences to the family at the passing of Marjorie Constance Turbayne and welcome Judy and David here today. It is fabulous that you are here, and it is a shame that more people from Canberra whom Marjorie touched throughout her incredible life are not here to hear what we say for her today.


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