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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 01 Hansard (Tuesday, 9 February 2010) . . Page.. 6 ..


For me, one of the most outstanding achievements of an immigrant girl was to sit at the opening of Magna Carta Place and know the part that Marjorie played in having that memorial, that monument there, and the declaration of the place but, more fundamentally, understanding the importance of parliamentary democracy. That right to free speech, that right to have your opinion and have your view, will be one of the things that I will always remember about Marjorie. She let you have that right but, in my conversations with her, she would always challenge you to justify that and prove that what you believed in was what you really believed in and that you understood what you were talking about. It is that sharpness of mind and that dedication of purpose that, for me, will really stand out a long time in my memories of Marjorie Turbayne.

At the same time, she was also her own person. She was not guided by what was the fad or what was the trend of the day. Marjorie was Marjorie because she chose to be that way. I think there is a lovely reference in the Canberra Times where Jane says,

But Mum also loved clothes. She had a wardrobe of expensive suits and she had bright pink-painted nails, even when she died.

This was a woman who, to the very end, knew who she was, what she was, and was not afraid to say it.

The other thing that is particularly interesting, I think, is the citation that she received. It says:

Mrs Marjorie Constance TURBAYNE OAM MBE—7 Mugga Way, Forrest ACT, 2603—for services to the community through support for arts, heritage, social welfare and youth organisations, for encouraging national pride and identity, and for strengthening Anglo-Australian relations.

You can get an OAM or an MBE for any of those, but to have all of those listed in the very short citation that I came across shows how extraordinary a woman she was.

One of the stories that have not been largely recounted about Marjorie was the role of the Turbayne family in the Petrov affair. My understanding is that, when the Petrovs defected, they may have lived in the Turbayne family house. The family might like to tell us more of these stories. But one reference that I came across—I think it is from Alan Ramsay—says:

Keith and Marjorie Turbayne came here from Britain in the early 1950s. Keith Turbayne was in … military intelligence and, in this country, for very many years, he was senior in the spook business in some way or other. I don’t know the detail. I do know Marjorie Turbayne, after the defection 50 years ago of Vladimir and Evdokia Petrov, was a minder and companion of Mrs Petrov for some months, if not years.

Again, this is a woman who is raising a family. At that time, in the 1950s, she has a husband in a professional career. She is staking out her own career but there she is doing her bit for what she believed in. Have no doubt about it, if Marjorie believed something and she got behind it, then things happened.


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