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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 1 Hansard (18 February) . . Page.. 62 ..

MR CORNWELL (continuing):

One of the problems, unfortunately, of enjoying overseas travel as one grows older is that you frequently find when you come back that somebody near and dear to you-a friend, an acquaintance, a colleague-has died in your absence. This is happening a little too regularly as far as I am personally concerned. As a result, I missed Joan Taggart's funeral. I would have been present at the funeral had I been here; I want to make that quite clear. I would also like to thank my colleague, Harold Hird, for attending the funeral.

Joan shared this joy of overseas travel. She came to it somewhat late in life, as I understand. I seem to recall-I may be wrong-that the first visit overseas she made was to Madrid. I think it was a Labor Party sponsored trip perhaps to an international socialist conference or something of that nature. Whatever it was, overseas travel was-and I have also noted this-infectious. She certainly enjoyed travel and at one stage I had the opportunity to assist with her travel arrangements.

I mentioned earlier that she and I were members of the ACT Schools Authority and that we served on that body from 1982 to 1987. The ACT House of Assembly was abolished in 1986 and purely out of curiosity I wrote to the federal minister of the day inquiring whether members of the ACT House of Assembly had been formally and legally removed from the Schools Authority. Somewhat to my surprise I received a letter back saying it was not the case that that was taking place immediately, and that a cheque for 12 months additional service on the Schools Authority was being sent to me and other members. I was surprised. Joan, I think it is fair to say, was delighted. She thanked me very much because she said this would assist in enabling her to undertake further overseas travel.

ACT ALP members, of course, may have memories of her in respect of perhaps turbulent activities of the party. But I remember Joan as a person who certainly held beliefs-but not, as far as I was concerned, in a belligerent manner. Nor, may I say, after leaving public life, did she offer others of us still in public life gratuitous advice about what we should be doing. I appreciated that because I always enjoyed a chat with her.

I would like to extend condolences on behalf of the opposition, and certainly on behalf of myself. If I may sum up my personal feelings for Joan in an epitaph which I am sure she would appreciate for its brevity, she was a friend.

MR QUINLAN (Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Business and Tourism and Minister for Sport, Racing and Gaming): I knew Joan Taggart. Let me say that not often but sometimes in life you meet someone who has genuine presence; someone who you know just by meeting them is of importance; someone like Joan with clarity of thought, with intellect, and with totally disarming frankness. You very seldom meet those sorts of people but Joan Taggart was one of them. You can tell this from the eulogies that she has received since her death. Many important people who have achieved high rank have spoken of Joan Taggart with absolutely genuine reverence.

I have to agree with what Jon Stanhope said about the leadership that Joan Taggart showed, particularly in regard to equality for women. Joan did not embrace the title of a feminist. She was more interested in equality and she achieved what she achieved by leadership; she achieved a whole lot and whether she likes it or not she was one of the strongest feminists I have ever met.

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