Page 5090 - Week 14 - Tuesday, 28 November 2017

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Madam Speaker, when we debate the greyhound bill today I will be channelling my friend Mr Doszpot.

Collectively, Canberrans have cried a million tears over the passing of this great man, and I think it is easy to understand why. As Mr Coe said when we were here last month, Dozzie just knew everybody in Canberra. He is the best personal networker I have ever known. But he did not do it to achieve political gain; he reached out to people because he was genuinely interested in what they have to say.

I want to stick up for my mate Steve, because I know a lot of people talk about the fact that he was late for everything. No-one should ever believe that he was late to everything because he was careless; he was late to everything because he could not say no. If he was invited to something he would just say, “Yes, I’ll be there,” and then try to juggle the diary when he got there. But, furthermore, when you were in Steve’s company, when you had his attention, the time for him did not matter. So, however long it took, that is how long it would take. He was not a clock-watcher.

When you consider where he came from, his achievements were quite remarkable. When eight-year-old Steve arrived with his family in Australia nobody could have predicted the impact he would have on his adopted country. Of course, the Doszpots had genuinely run for their lives as the communists descended on Budapest, and their journey from Hungary took them to a refugee camp in Yugoslavia before being taken in by Australia. In the conversations I had with Steve about that time, he always spoke so fondly of his father, who instilled some core values into his son which would serve Steve well over the next 60-odd years. The primary messages were about hard work and community. And that sums up this man.

Everybody here in the gallery supporting this great man can be immensely proud of the mark he has left on this city and this country. I do not think we deal with death well in this culture of ours: we often do not mention it, we look the other way and we almost pretend, despite its reality, that it is going to happen to other people and not us. The reality is that something will take all of us. If God can take Steve, it means he will take all of us. All the will in the world could not stop the march of this disease that claimed him. If he could have done more to hang on, he would have. As his close friends and family will attest, he was one of the most stubborn men on this planet.

If we can get to the end of our journeys and hold our heads up in the way that my friend Steve has, if we can genuinely know that we have given life our best shot, and if we can, like Steve, leave a legacy that genuinely represents who we were and what we tried to achieve, I am sure those last moments of resignation will be easier.

I said it in this chamber a month ago and I will say it again today: Steve, we love you. We all love you—even them. Thank you for being you; we are all thankful to you for being Steve Doszpot. Rest in peace, my friend. Rest in peace.

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

At 10.58 the sitting was suspended until the ringing of the bells.

The bells having been rung, Madam Speaker resumed the chair at 11.31 am.

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