Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 13 Hansard (Tuesday, 30 November 2021) . . Page.. 3899 ..
In his early years, Andy rarely publicised that he had cystic fibrosis. He was a fast learner who could rapidly absorb and understand information and then recall it, which made him particularly good at trivia, at tipping competitions and, later, in advising his wife Heidi if she needed to rapidly prepare for one of her many media interviews.
But what stood out time and time again about Andy was his care for others, from what he chose to study and his job to his personal relationships and, notably, his support for the broader community.
He was academically gifted. Andy studied economics at uni before joining the Department of Social Services here in Canberra, which combined his talent for economics with social justice, providing robust policy advice through an economic lens, with the firm approach of helping others.
Heidi and Andy had been at school together in Tamworth in different grades, but their paths did not cross until they were both at a party here in 2011. Heidi had just moved here. Their love quickly grew. Their story is well known. They were married in 2015; they welcomed their precious dog, Monty, into their family in 2016.
Heidi and Andy are known for their incredible love and the strength of their relationship, but it is what they achieved as a couple together for the benefit of others that has consistently made headlines. Heidi helped Andy to become more comfortable with speaking about cystic fibrosis—so much so that he went on to become the most incredible advocate and fundraiser. He became the adult representative on Cystic Fibrosis ACT’s management committee, representing and advocating for the 50 adults in the ACT community on locally important CF issues. He made representations regarding the health system in the ACT, including to executives and directly to ACT government ministers, and he appeared before committee inquiries.
In 2011, Heidi and Andy co-founded the Santa Speedo Shuffle, Cystic Fibrosis ACT’s incredible winter fundraiser, which raised $12,000 in its first year and more than $800,000 over the last 10 years. Andy was, unsurprisingly, awarded the ACT volunteer of the year profound influence award in 2018.
My own friendship with Andy was one that highlights all of these qualities. He loved discussing policy issues; we discussed everything from health care to representation in parliament. We had particularly passionate conversations about the voluntary assisted dying debate and territory rights. But it was his care that always struck me. It would not come as a surprise to people who know everything about Andy that it was not an unusual experience for Andy to reach out to ask how I was, encouraging me to reach out to him if there was anything he could do. One of the last questions Andy asked me, just a few weeks before he died, when he had been through so much already this year, was whether I was taking time for my own self-care.
Andy died on 8 October this year, aged 34. We extend our deepest sympathies and love to his many friends, to his family and, especially, to Monty and to Heidi. His contributions and legacy will be felt for a long time. Fundraisers continue to occur in Andy’s memory, including through the South Canberra Netball Association, and there will be another Santa Speedo Shuffle.