Page 3523 - Week 10 - Tuesday, 25 August 2009

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Tuesday, 25 August 2009

MR SPEAKER (Mr Rattenbury) took the chair at 10 am, made a formal recognition that the Assembly was meeting on the lands of the traditional custodians, and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

Leave of absence

Motion (by Mr Hanson) agreed to:

That leave of absence be granted to Mr Doszpot for this sitting owing to his attendance at a disability conference.

Death of Ms Barbara Byrne OAM

Motion of condolence

MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Minister for Transport, Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, Minister for Business and Economic Development, Minister for Indigenous Affairs and Minister for the Arts and Heritage) (10.01): I move:

That this Assembly expresses its deep regret at the death of Barbara Byrne OAM, life member of Volunteering ACT and an active and energetic supporter of the Canberra community through her myriad of activities, and tenders its profound sympathy to her family, friends and colleagues in their bereavement.

Mr Speaker, I rise today not so much as leader of the parliamentary Labor Party paying tribute to a woman who contributed much to the ACT branch of the Australian Labor Party, but as Chief Minister paying tribute to a fine Canberran whose contribution was felt across our community. Barbara Byrne is mourned by many in the Labor Party who knew her—that is true. But equally, she is missed by the friends and admirers she attracted over the course of a full and fulfilling life beyond the party.

As the tributes flow this week, we reflect on just how expansive was her circle of influence, and how varied the causes for which she worked over the years. It was a lifetime of service that was recognised with a Centenary Medal in 2003, and the Order of Australia medal in 2006. Yet it was a life of quiet achievement rather than headlines and fanfare. It was achievement secured through boardroom meetings and built-up trust, cordial dealings and persuasive argument. It was a life that incorporated almost four decades as a commonwealth public servant but that extended the meaning of the phrase “public service” into other areas of life—sport, the community sector, the licensed club industry, volunteering, and her great love, music.

Others will no doubt reflect this morning on the energy and ideas Barbara devoted to these areas of our communal life. They will speak about the Barbara Byrne who was known to the club sector, the Barbara Byrne who lent her professional skills to the volunteer community, or Barbara Byrne the sports enthusiast, who understood the symbiotic relationship in this town between sport and grassroots sporting clubs.

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