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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 10 Hansard (Thursday, 25 September 2014) . . Page.. 3185 ..

Thursday, 25 September 2014

MADAM SPEAKER (Mrs Dunne) took the chair at 10 am and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

Mr Kurt Steel

Motion of condolence

MR BARR (Molonglo—Deputy Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Housing and Minister for Tourism and Events): I move:

That this Assembly expresses its profound sorrow at the tragic death of Mr Kurt Steel and tenders its heartfelt sympathy to his family, friends and colleagues in their bereavement.

It is heartbreaking to be moving this motion today. We are grieving the loss of a dearly loved colleague, a talented political activist, a passionate advocate for the Labor cause, a community leader, and a close friend. This is significant, but it pales when compared to the loss of a son and a brother. I would like to acknowledge the presence of the Steel family in the gallery today—Kurt’s parents, Philip and Jayne, and his brother, Chris—and friends who are here. We all knew Kurt was blessed by the love and support of his family and by his very strong network of friends, and today we offer our deepest sympathies to the Steels and to all of Kurt’s friends on this tragic loss.

Kurt was simply an outstanding young man that we all loved. In this incredibly sad time, we have drawn some comfort from sharing our fondest memories from our experiences of working and being able to spend time with him. There are so many memories—from the elaborate practical jokes with the office photocopy machines, telephones and computers to all those times at office lunches, dinners and nights out celebrating election wins, birthdays, new babies in the office, marriages, promotions and all of those other significant personal milestones.

Kurt and I enjoyed some great times debating all things sport, particularly how to get the Raiders back to the top of the ladder. Between us we formed a very formidable team of selection and player recruitment for pretty much every sport I can imagine. Our debates over whether there was any decent music released prior to 1998 were robust and long-running. News that we had secured The Church to perform in Canberra’s centenary year, which brought a great deal of joy to the generation X members of our office, was completely underwhelming to Kurt, and became a running joke with all of our future major event announcements. Kurt’s ability to be positive and to find humour in all circumstances was one of his greatest qualities.

Kurt started working in the Assembly in April 2011, beginning in what is unquestionably the best job in the ACT government, as the adviser in the tourism, events and sport and recreation portfolios. He made an outstanding contribution in those areas and worked very closely with all of the stakeholder groups. That time was very fondly remembered by many people from sport and recreation organisations who have contacted the office in recent weeks.

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