Page 3531 - Week 10 - Tuesday, 25 August 2009

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But there is another story which was a really important thing for me personally. I ran into a woman whose name was Melissa Coultard, who may be known to some of us, who was connected with the then Women’s Australian Football League here in the ACT. I ran into her at a president’s luncheon at Manuka Oval one day. She asked me about women’s sport. I said, like all politicians, “I am very keen to support women’s sport.” She said: “Well, let’s see you put your money where your mouth is. How about you give us a hand?”

I found out that the ACT women’s representative team had hitherto been playing interstate in the national competition wearing borrowed jumpers and borrowed socks—representing the ACT, thank you. I asked Barbara Byrne if she could help by sponsoring the women’s team to go to Darwin to play in the nationals. She arranged that sponsorship; they ran onto the park wearing their own jumpers, their own socks and their own shorts. You might like to know that they felt fantastic; such was their feeling that they came second in the national competition. Having an ACT women’s football team come second in a national competition is something else. A lot of it was due to the way the girls were feeling when they ran onto the oval in Darwin, and that goes down to Barbara Byrne. They recognised Barbara Byrne’s contribution very significantly.

Many members here have contributed stories about how Barbara was instrumental in the ALP. On a personal level, she was very instrumental to me. She was around when I sought preselection. She was not of the group that I belonged to, but she encouraged me to run and she was one of the first two people who told me that I could possibly win. Her encouragement to me personally spanned 12 or 13 years and I will never, ever forget her.

I am sure that I join with everybody in passing our condolences to Harold Logue, her partner of many years—40 years—to Barbara’s family and also to a dear friend who was very close to Barbara, Ashley Lightman, who is known to many members on this side of the house, who worked with Barbara in the Department of Defence. They were in the Navy. Ashley is feeling Barbara’s passing very, very acutely. They were identical in every way—the gravel voice, the direct advice and the soft heart surrounded by a really hard shell.

It does not give me pleasure to rise to speak on this condolence motion but it gives me great pride to be able to stand in this place, as a product of Barbara Byrne’s advice, and recognise her contribution.

Question resolved in the affirmative, members standing in their places.


The following petition was lodged for presentation, by Mr Barr, from 103 residents:

Waramanga shopping centre—petition No 101

To the Speaker and Members of the Legislative Assembly for the Australian Capital Territory

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