Page 368 - Week 02 - Tuesday, 15 February 2005

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His commitment to social justice then took a more local focus when he became the deputy director of the ACT Council of Social Service in 2001. ACTCOSS director, Ara Cresswell, said in a statement: “his unflagging belief that each community should determine their own future was an inspiration to all who had the chance to work with Charlie over the years”. Another of his passions was for the process of reconciliation with Australia’s indigenous people and he was an active member of Australians for Reconciliation and Native Title.

His love of Canberra translated into his bid to serve the local community through the ACT Legislative Assembly. He was a candidate in the seat of Molonglo for the Greens in the 2004 election. For our Assembly colleague Dr Foskey I know he was not only a running mate but also a cherished friend.

It is clear that Charlie Pahlman touched the lives of many, not only in this community but across the world. I did not personally know Charlie Pahlman, but I observed and listened to him during the election campaign and I liked what I saw and heard.

Charlie Pahlman was an active and valuable member of our community and he will be sorely missed. I again express my regret at his sudden and sad death.

DR FOSKEY (Molonglo): I want to thank Mr Stanhope for moving a condolence motion for my friend and colleague Charlie Pahlman. It is right and fitting that the whole Assembly remember Charlie and note his passing, as I am sure that every member has had something to do with him; if they have not, they soon would have, had he not died.

Our hearts go out to Charlie’s family and friends and I want to acknowledge that today we have a number of them here: Charlie’s partner, Pam, his mum, Anna Lena, Pam’s mum, Marjory, and a number of other friends. You will see that my staff have also joined them, because Charlie was close to us all.

Charlie’s family and friends are a close circle and a spiralling network of thousands across the world. I especially think of his partner, Pam, and his mother and his daughters. I hope that you travel the long and bumpy road of grief assisted by good memories and compassionate friends.

Today I want to speak particularly on behalf of those in the social justice community who have worked with Charlie in the eight years since he came to Canberra, and to briefly outline the work that he did prior to coming to live in our city. In doing this, I want to stress the loss that we have endured as a community and as a world. I wish to emphasise, however, that there is no room for despair and to demonstrate that we will remember Charlie best by keeping his work for social justice going and by taking on some of his open enthusiasm, best expressed in his smile.

Why is it that the death of some people is harder to accept than that of others? Charlie is such a person. The first reaction of most people to the news was disbelief: how could someone so alive die? The second was profound loss. Many uttered the old cliché: only the good die young. That I reject. For one thing, it might discourage those of us who, humanly, would like long lives from behaving with integrity. For the other, it is patently

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