Wednesday, 3 August 2022

The PRESIDENT (Hon. N Elasmar) took the chair at 9.34 am and read the prayer.


Acknowledgement of country

The PRESIDENT (09:34): On behalf of the Victorian state Parliament I acknowledge the Aboriginal peoples, the traditional custodians of this land which has served as a significant meeting place of the First People of Victoria. I acknowledge and pay respect to the elders of the Aboriginal nations in Victoria past, present and emerging and welcome any elders and members of the Aboriginal communities who may visit or participate in the events or proceedings of the Parliament.

The PRESIDENT: We have in the gallery former honourable member Mr Philip Dalidakis.


Hon. Jane Garrett MP

Ms SYMES (Northern Victoria—Leader of the Government, Attorney-General, Minister for Emergency Services) (09:35): I move:

That this house expresses its sincere sorrow at the death, on 2 July 2022, of the Honourable Jane Garrett MLC and places on record its acknowledgement of the valuable services rendered by her to the Parliament and the people of Victoria as a member of the Legislative Assembly for the electorate of Brunswick from 2010 to 2018, as a member of the Legislative Council for the Eastern Victoria Region from 2018 to 2022 and as Minister for Emergency Services and Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation from 2014 to 2016.

It is of course with a heavy heart this morning that I give my condolences on my colleague and comrade Jane Garrett. This condolence is so terribly difficult as she is supposed to be sitting just over there, and we desperately wish that she was.

Despite her life being cut tragically short, she lived a full life. It was a life in the service of others and one of principle. Jane was born and raised in northern Melbourne and studied law and arts at ANU. She became an associate to Justice Alan Boulton at the Australian Industrial Relations Commission in 1997. She was an articled clerk with Holding Redlich in 1998, a union officer with the Transport Workers Union in 1999, a senior adviser to former Premier Steve Bracks from 2000 to 2004 and a lawyer at Slater & Gordon from 2004 to 2010. She was also a City of Yarra councillor from 2008 to 2010 and was mayor in 2010. It is a pretty full resume for someone before even entering Parliament, which of course she did as the member for Brunswick in November 2010 until December 2018, at which point she became a member of the Legislative Council—came to the good side, one might say. During this period in Parliament she held a number of positions, including Minister for Emergency Services, Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation and Parliamentary Secretary for Jobs, and made a significant contribution to the rights of donor-conceived persons through her work on the law reform parliamentary committee.

While I personally got to know Jane through my time in the opposition rooms, as she was also the shadow Cabinet Secretary, and while she was in the lower house, the opportunity to see her in action in this place was a real treat—witty and fierce, with contributions that often got people up and about. So incredibly likeable and unpretentiously smart, she was a valuable and entertaining addition to our party and this Parliament. I absolutely loved her contributions. If I was in here or if I was in my office and she was on the screen, I always stopped to listen. Any contribution that followed Dr Ratnam was especially enjoyable, as too were exchanges with Mr Finn.

I miss that voice—the incredibly distinctive Jane Garrett voice. Whether she was screaming for the Blues at the footy, comforting a drought-impacted family on a farm in Gippsland or speaking to a multicultural community in the heart of Brunswick, you could put her anywhere and she would fit in. She had an ability to speak to people—really speak to them—listen to them and see them. She put them at ease and she provided assurance that she had their back, something that all politicians should strive to achieve.

She was a proud unionist and a member of the Australian Labor Party. She was someone who lived her values and always stayed true to them. She was motivated by a passion for social justice, workers rights and equality and dedicated her personal and professional life to advance a just and prosperous Victoria. In her maiden speech she said she had:

… sought to stand up for people, to give a voice to those who have been disenfranchised, to push for good public policy that is guided by fairness of outcome, courage of conviction and generosity of spirit.

And that is exactly what she did during her time in this place.

It is a privilege to have been able to serve in the Parliament with her. On behalf of the government I would like to convey my deepest sympathies to Jane’s family and all of her loved ones. I know her dad, Graeme, her sister, Catherine, and close friends are here today, and I provide my heartfelt condolences to you and also to her husband, James, and especially to her children, Molly, Sasha and Max. She spoke of you often, beaming with pride and love, and there are few words to describe your devastating loss. I am so pleased that the family have accepted a state memorial, as her contribution to this state should be duly recognised and celebrated. Vale, Jane Garrett.

Mr DAVIS (Southern Metropolitan—Leader of the Opposition) (09:40): I would like to associate the Liberal Party and the opposition with this motion and note that Jane Garrett was somebody we all knew and greatly admired. She, as the Leader of the Government has pointed out, had a particular turn of phrase and an amusing presentation. She was generous and she was somebody that you could have a quiet and thoughtful conversation with about indeed almost anything, so I do want to put on record our regrets at her passing.

As the leader has outlined, she had a significant background at the AIRC, as a union officer at the Transport Workers Union, at legal firms and working in the Premier’s office. She was also a City of Yarra councillor, mayor of the City of Yarra in 2010 and a member of both houses, and that often brings an interesting perspective to the Parliament too. But it is, I think, important to note that she also took up causes, and as has been laid out, her commitment to social justice was well known. She was also prepared to stand up for firefighters, and I do think it is worth noting the support of the VFBV, Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria:

The Board and State Council … were saddened to learn of the passing of former Minister for Emergency Services the Hon. Jane Garrett MP. On behalf of all CFA volunteers, the Board and members express their sincere sympathy to Jane’s family, friends, colleagues, and children Molly, Sasha and Max … you will forever be remembered.

I think it is important to note that she was one of those people in politics who stood up for the things she believed in. I have said publicly that her fight for the release of information about the treatment of women and for HR matters within the fire services was a very significant fight, and she certainly conveyed to the opposition most strongly her wish that those documents and so forth were in the public domain. That was her sincere wish and her sincere focus. I think it is important to note that she held some of those views and views in favour of volunteer firefighters against enormous pressure, and I, for one, respect her for those views and for the courage with which she held and prosecuted those views.

In this chamber I have not heard a bad word said about Jane. I have thought that again and again her generosity, her warmth, her knowledge and her remarkable intelligence came to the fore. She is someone who will be missed, and I certainly, on behalf of the opposition, pass on our wishes to James, her children and friends and all of those who were so close to her.

Ms SHING (Eastern Victoria—Minister for Water, Minister for Regional Development, Minister for Equality) (09:43): I rise today as one contributor in what I imagine will be a very long list of people who wish to pay tribute to the contribution that Jane made, not just throughout her parliamentary career but also as an advocate and a vocal and strident supporter of the values that she held so dear.

Jane was fierce, Jane was articulate, Jane was witty and Jane was determined, and Jane’s voice gave effect to the importance of a range of people in her world and in her sphere—as a unionist, as a lawyer and as a supporter of previous Premiers—that made the world around her a better place.

Jane in her inaugural speech, in her inimitable way, referred to the movie Avatar and quoted that now famous line, ‘I see you’. And Jane saw people. She saw people and met them on their level, whether it was in the community, and in particular in Gippsland as she saw off truckloads of hay following the devastation of the Black Summer bushfires, whether it was meeting with people throughout communities to hear and to understand their concerns and priorities around employment in the work that she undertook as Parliamentary Secretary for Jobs or whether it was here in the chamber where, as was noted as by the Leader of the Government, she took up the challenge and listened to that gauntlet thrown by colleagues such as Dr Ratnam and Mr Finn and indeed others who would hear and indeed experience the enthusiasm of her articulate retorts and rejoinders.

We will miss her here in this place. We will miss her for the contribution that she made here, for the contribution that she made in public service and for the contribution that she made in improving the lives of those around her. But we can only imagine the way in which those around her who loved her most will miss her.

We never really know what somebody is going through, and we never really know the impact of challenges and devastations that may be being fought by someone who is also trying to balance the challenges of continuing to work and to represent their community and continuing to be a mum and a friend. Jane managed so many things while her health was deteriorating, and we did not know that. We were not to know the things that she was experiencing and the hardships that she was facing. To that end I cannot imagine the support that she received from her friends and her family, from those who loved her and those who were close to her, and in particular from her dad, Graeme, from her kids, Molly, Sasha and Max, from Catherine, her sister, from her friends, including Mr Gepp—and I hope that we will be here to listen very carefully to what you have to say about your dear friend—and also from those in the community. In particular I am thinking of her electorate office staff and of those who helped her represent the Eastern Victoria Region, work which I had shared with her since 2018.

Jane will be missed. Jane will always have a spot here in the Legislative Council. Her extraordinary contributions will not be forgotten. I send my love and condolences to her family and in particular her dad, Graeme. No parent ever wants to outlive their child. On this day we are thinking of everyone who will miss her in the months and years to come, but we are also thinking of the incredible contribution that she made, the generosity of her values and the way in which she brought everything she was to everything that she did. Vale, Jane Garrett.

Mr BARTON (Eastern Metropolitan) (09:48): I did not know Jane before I came to this place, but I certainly knew of Jane before I came to this place. I knew of Jane’s ferocious defending of working people. She was incredibly smart. She was tough. She stood her ground on what she thought was right, and this was measured with empathy, compassion and a little bit of old-fashioned Labor values.

Jane would always give me encouragement and advice—that friendly smile—when I needed it, which I always appreciated. I always thought it was unfair of the President to make me speak after Jane. She was one of the great speakers in this chamber. She always held her notes but hardly ever had to look at them—because she spoke from the heart.

It was clear, getting to know Jane, that she had a deep love for her family, her community and the Labor Party. My condolences to her husband, James, her children, Molly, Sasha and Max, her extended family, her friends and all those who loved her. Rest in peace, my friend.

Ms BATH (Eastern Victoria) (09:49): I rise this morning with a heavy heart on behalf of The Nationals to support this very worthy condolence motion for the Honourable Jane Garrett. My grandmother, Muriel Tatterson, had a saying that she drilled into me throughout my lifetime: speak as you find, Melina. My personal interaction with Jane Garrett was not extensive.

Our lives have been in different orbits. She was in Brunswick and was the member for Brunswick in the 58th Parliament and Minister for Emergency Services and Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation. Very sadly and unfortunately her tenure as a member for Eastern Victoria Region was dramatically cut short by her extensive need for treatment and ultimately her demise through an illness that cut her very precious and beloved life far too short.

Cancer is something that unfortunately reaches its tendrils into many families in Victoria. The whys and wherefores: so much research has been done and there is so much known about the illness but there is always a combination of factors, whether it is genetics or hereditary or environmental, emotional or physical. Treatment is really important. I congratulate all of the medical profession who work in cancer and oncology, and I thank the doctors and specialists who worked with Jane and her family.

Parliamentarians have a high degree of stress, there is no doubt about it. Many jobs do. Being a minister also comes with a high degree of stress. Like her dear friend the Honourable Fiona Richardson, 49 is such an early age to give up living. She had so much to give. We collectively grieve for her husband, James, and her beloved children, Molly, Sasha and Max, and her extended family, friends and colleagues. I know many colleagues in here are deeply affected today.

Speak as you find. My interactions with Jane were few but they were always engaging. Jane to me was warm, was genuine, was both considered and I also think slightly outrageous in her spirit. She was authentic. We need authentic people in this world. We gain value from interacting with authentic people in this world. And I too enjoyed her contributions. They were deeply said and deeply felt and her convictions were there.

It was in the time that she was emergency services minister that I was really with her in the 58th Parliament with my dealings with the CFA. From my interactions with the CFA and SES volunteers they have high praise for her stoic determination to stand up for them. She was also instrumental in recognising the need to have more women represented in both the professional firefighting capacity and in volunteerism. During a speech in 2016 she said, and I think it is worth putting down because I know how passionate she was about volunteerism:

… I am so proud of our CFA and our firefighters, both career and volunteer. All members of this house understand that volunteers are the lifeblood of the CFA and their local communities … They are loyal to each other—

and I might say she was to them—

and they are loyal to their community. Their collective efforts can make the difference between life and death. They turn up—rain, hail, shine, fire, flood or anything else Mother Nature throws at them.

Today I wanted to give back to her family, so I rang a member of the Morwell fire brigade. He is captain, and he has just served 47 years as a CFA volunteer. Peter Keenan said:


We loved Jane. Jane stood up for what we stand for, serving the community and keeping community life and property safe. We have a proud 140-year history in Victoria and Jane recognised that. We will be forever grateful for her stance.

My parting words are that a newly minted senator in federal Parliament made a speech the other day; she said listen with intent and act with integrity, and I think that is what Jane did in spades. Vale, Jane Garrett.

Mr GEPP (Northern Victoria) (09:55): Many will speak about Jane’s life, and the leader has gone through her most magnificent résumé. I want to talk today about Jane my friend. But I want to begin my contribution today by expressing my deep sadness and sorrow and the condolences of my family to Jane’s family: to Jane’s partner, James; to her beautiful children, Molly, Sasha and Max; to her father, Graeme, who is with us today—lovely to see you, Mr Garrett; to her sister, Catherine, who has just been so magnificent in the four weeks since Jane’s passing—she has been the rock that has held so many people together; to all of Jane’s extended family; and to those that loved her. My words and the words that you will hear today will not take away the pain, and nor will they fill the hole that is now in your hearts and is also in mine, but in time to come I hope our collective words give you some comfort, knowing not only that your partner, mother, daughter, sister, sister-in-law, aunt, niece, cousin and friend was loved by those in her family but that we also felt those things for Jane.

To James, you and Jane were a powerhouse, and together you made the three most magnificent achievements imaginable. They are your legacy. Your children epitomise who you are, and they will be forever in our hearts. To Molly, Sasha and Max, your mother was an extraordinary woman. She loved you very, very dearly. Nothing was more important to Jane than the three of you. Can I assure you that you now have a network of aunts and uncles that you may not have known, and we will be available to you whenever you need us for whatever you need us for. We may not be related to you in the traditional family sense, but you cannot get rid of us now. We will always be there for you and your dad. We want to thank you, all of us, for sharing your mother with us.

It is well known that Jane and I were besties in this place. If you saw one of us, usually the other was not too far behind. I would be a very rich bloke if I had a dollar for every time someone in this place greeted me with, ‘G’day, Geppy. How’s Jane?’. Yes, when I was with her, I lost my identity, but that was okay. Indeed I think I spent so much time with Jane that other than my immediate family I have had more meals and glasses of red wine with Jane than any other person on the planet. Of course I think our relationship grew during that time, probably because the more red we had the more stories we shared about each other to each other, so we had to stay close.

Jane was Labor to her bootstraps. She was a proud trade unionist who never stopped advocating for improvement to workers’ lives and workers’ rights. She was a fearless advocate for equality. If you ever spoke disparagingly of somebody because of their circumstances in life, you were very swiftly put back in your place by Jane Garrett. She firmly believed that everybody had a contribution to make and that everybody’s contribution was valuable regardless of their circumstances, and she would not hear any other way.

She was a fearless advocate for women. Feminism coursed through her veins. If you ever had the opportunity to sit and listen, as I did on occasion, to Jane having a conversation with her mates, such as the late Honourable Fiona Richardson or her very dear friend the former member for Wendouree, who is here today paying her respects to Jane—Sharon Knight—you could hear them talk passionately about the role of women and the circumstances of women, the injustice that had been dealt out and the determination that they had that as long as they were in this place they would do everything they could to correct the record. Nothing was more important to Jane, and that was so true of the young women that worked in her ministerial office. I will come back to say a little bit more about that in a few moments, but those young women—she took them under her wing, she guided them and she was so proud of all of the achievements that they have made to date as their careers and lives have moved on post her ministerial office.

Jane lived her values to the fullest extent, and she never compromised them—never. Like many in this place and in the labour movement, I had known Jane for a long time, but it was not until I saw Jane up close in a professional sense that I realised how brilliant she was. Ms Shing and Ms Symes have touched on some of her extraordinary skills. To see Jane in full flight in this place—it was not just after Dr Ratnam or Mr Finn; it would be unfair to point just the two of you out, but I think she particularly enjoyed some banter with the two of you—you just stopped and you had to watch. It was compelling viewing, it was compelling listening. She did not have to say or do anything to you, she just commanded your attention. She could fill a room like no other.

Her ability to connect with people was quite astonishing, as too was their reaction to her, and Ms Bath has spoken a little bit about some of those interactions that she saw and with others who are in the CFA. I cannot explain what that connection was. I wish I could. As a politician I think we all wish we could bottle it, but she had it. She had it, and she had it in spades. I would do it an injustice if I did try to explain it. But incredibly it did not change from place to place. It did not matter whether we were in Jane’s electorate of Brunswick at the time or in the middle of the Mallee—and you could not get two more diverse groups of people. Jane connected with them, and their reaction to her was always the same. The mob, as we call the electorate in political terms, they loved her. Just as importantly, she loved them—she loved them.

I remember vividly the Wye River fires in 2015. I worked in her office as her senior adviser. The devastation at the time—we went down to Wye River, and just the looks on the faces of the locals who had lost everything. Jane was at her best during those times, comforting those people, offering them the solace and the support to rebuild. Her care and support for those people was heartfelt and genuine, and they knew it—they knew it. The one thing the mob can always spot from a politician is BS, and that was never apparent in Jane Garrett. But it was not just the people who had suffered the devastation, it was the people who were working to respond to the devastation. We spent Christmas Day 2015 in the State Control Centre as those fires continued to rage. You could see the pain and the anguish on the faces of the people who were responding to those fires. Those people from Emergency Management Victoria or the CFA or the SES, they were all in there doing their absolute best—their absolute best—to support the community that was doing it tough. Jane’s presence in the State Control Centre that day had such a calming and soothing and supportive effect for those people. And those people, who I am still in touch with today, who were there with us on that day have reached out and shared their appreciation of what Jane did for them that day simply by being among them, simply by being with them and being supportive.

Of course we also had some fun times in Jane’s office and on some of the road trips, as you can imagine, with Jane. People have spoken about that voice, and it was never more apparent than when we were on some of those road trips together. There were two constants, and if you have ever observed Jane around the precinct, you would know one of them. One of them was chippies; you always had to have chippies on the road trip. I bumped into her former driver in the car park yesterday and we had a little bit of a cry at Jane’s passing, but we remembered some of those times. And Mark—she was actually surrounded by Marks at that time—said to me, ‘I don’t think I ever got the smell of those chips out of the car’. So to whoever got that car after her, sorry about that.

The other thing that was always apparent on those road trips was really cheesy pop music. One of the things that I remember: we went to a CFA just west of Sea Lake in 2016. It was stinking hot. It was boiling hot. We had been to this CFA station, and the whole community had turned out, because when you go to visit a CFA station it is not just the volunteers, it is their families, it is their community. They all turn out, especially when they have a rock star like Jane turning up. They loved to see her, and she loved to see them. And on the way back she would always say, ‘Now, who would like to listen to some music? What music would you like to listen to?’. And of course as you started calling out your preferred genre, bang, she would hit the button on her own cheesy pop song playlist from Spotify, and she would sing every song with gusto. Whether you invited her singing or not, it did not matter, because she always thought that she was a pop star in the waiting, that she had the best voice imaginable. And I have got to say that I would give anything to hear that once more.

I recall her private funeral three weeks ago. Her daughter Molly in her contribution talked about her mum bouncing around the house singing Taylor Swift songs ad nauseam, but not only did she sing them at the top of her lungs; Molly also told us she had to stop the song—a song that might take 3 minutes would take 30 minutes—as Jane then sought to explain every lyric that was in the song to her girls and the meaning behind it. And having been on some of those road trips with Jane, I can actually attest to her doing that sort of thing.

But Jane also in her ministerial office fancied herself as a matchmaker. Her very dear friend Sharon Knight was single at the time, and Jane took it upon herself to change that status. That was not good enough for our Jane, and she decided that her chief of staff, Mark O’Brien, would be the perfect match for Sharon. And she would not hear anything else of it; they were going to be the two people that would live happily ever after, in Jane’s mind, and she was not going to stop until it happened. Of course we all said, ‘Yes, yes, yes’, because we had heard it all before from Jane. But I have got to tell you, at Mark and Sharon’s wedding a little while later she could not help but rub our noses in it and say to us again and again and again that Greg Evans had nothing on Jane Garrett.

Jane’s ministerial career of course did not end in the way that she wanted it to, and that is a shame, because she was a bloody good minister. Jane knew during those times that sticking to the values that I spoke of earlier would come at a personal cost, but she did not deviate from doing what she thought was the right thing to do. Those times and since have been extraordinarily difficult for me, but you have got to multiply that tenfold for Jane. You would not believe half the stuff that has been written and said about those times. Suffice to say that I think a lesser person would have succumbed to the pressure and probably given up, but that was not in Jane’s nature. That was not who she was. Jane was as tough and as resilient as anyone I have ever met in my 35 years in the labour movement.

She would be thrilled with the people from those times having reached out to me and the family expressing their sadness at Jane’s passing while also remembering her as a person of the highest integrity and one who had the courage of her convictions. They loved working with Jane, and they are forever grateful for the support that she gave them.

I had the great honour, as I said, to be invited by the family to attend Jane’s private funeral three weeks ago, and along with others, including Jane’s daughters, Molly and Sasha, and her sister, Catherine, I was given the great privilege of sharing my experiences with Jane and paying tribute to her. Despite the fact that we had not caucused at all, the same theme ran through every person’s contribution that day. It was about Jane’s generosity and her care for others. I am not quite sure how to sum up except by saying that in Jane’s world, if she had a dollar in her pocket, so did you. That is how she lived her life.

Jane was instrumental in me coming to this place along with my very dear friend, who is also here today, Shaun Reardon. Once here, Jane made sure that her friends were my friends, and she was always on the lookout for me.

A blanket and a rose rest in Jane’s place today. When Jane was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016, her dear friend Fiona Richardson gave her a white blanket and encouraged her to let her kids hug that blanket. She told Jane, ‘As you go through your illness and you’re having a really tough day, hug that blanket, because the smell of your children on that blanket will give you comfort on those most difficult days’. As we know, Fiona lost her battle with illness herself in 2017, and that blanket and the sentiment behind it meant so much to Jane. When Fiona left us, a single flower was laid at her place in the Legislative Assembly. This is not the blanket, of course, but this blanket, if you ever went and visited Jane in her office, was always, always, on her couch, and it was always draped over her. It was the one enduring thing over my time with her in this Parliament.

I am proud to say that Jane Garrett was not just my colleague and my comrade, she was my friend. We endured so much together, and whilst the path we walked was sometimes pretty difficult, I have got to say, we never did it alone; we did it with each other. Jane, I love you. I miss you. Please rest, my friend.

Dr RATNAM (Northern Metropolitan) (10:15): On behalf of my Greens colleagues I offer my deepest condolences to the family, friends, loved ones and colleagues of the Honourable Jane Garrett, who are experiencing such a profound loss. The passing of someone we love and care for is never easy but is even more heartbreaking in these circumstances. We think especially of her children at this time, who she spoke of with joy and pride so very often in this place.

I first met Jane over 10 years ago in 2012 when, as a newly elected councillor at the City of Moreland, I got to meet her as the state MP for the electorate of Brunswick, which was the part of the city I too represented as a ward councillor. I saw that she represented her electorate with pride and passion throughout that time. She was supported by a community who were proud to be represented by her. She fought for them on issues ranging from the Brunswick terminal station to the Safe Streets campaign on Nicholson Street and so much more. And while we may have been on different political sides, I recognised the loyalty and dedication that drove those debates. If there is one thing that politics needs more of, it is that type of passion.

Her service to the people of the City of Yarra, the electorate of Brunswick and Eastern Victoria and to the people of Victoria will be remembered and cherished, and I will always remember the kindness she showed me when I was pregnant, as she sat behind me as we sat through long hours in this chamber. She always checked in and shared her experiences of carrying her own children, which made those days all the better. Rest in peace, Jane.

Mr ONDARCHIE (Northern Metropolitan) (10:17): Jane Garrett and I arrived in this Parliament at about the same time, Jane as the member for the Legislative Assembly district of Brunswick and me for the Northern Metropolitan Region. I was fortunate enough to come into this Parliament straight into government, and Jane into opposition. We quickly developed a bit of a rapport about the needs of her electorate of Brunswick, whether it was for a new pool, the Brunswick terminal station—she spoke to me about it nearly every day—the pedestrian crossings and the school support. We just developed a rapport.

Early in our first terms here the Parliament passed the workplace bullying law that was known as Brodie’s law after Brodie Panlock, who, working in a cafe in Ringwood, took her life after being bullied in the workplace. Jane and I, straight after that law was passed in this place and, for Jane, in the other house, sat out on the red couch in Queen’s Hall and had a long chat with Damian and Rae Panlock, Brodie’s parents. We just chatted to them. We sort of concluded when talking to them, both Jane and I, that it is not enough just to pass a law—just that does not fix anything. So after that Jane and I continued to sit on that red couch out there in Queen’s Hall and just talked about what we could do with the fact that this law had now been passed to try and help people that she often looked out for who got bullied.

So a number of us gathered the Sunday after that in a house in Pascoe Vale with people from Victoria Police, from local government, someone from the media—I think Nick McCallum was there—and we listened to Ali and Dina Halkic, who told us the story of their son, Allem, who was bullied on social media and decided he had had enough of that and at 15 years of age walked up the West Gate Bridge and took his life. Jane cried deeply. I cried deeply. I found Jane in the arms of my wife as we just listened to the story of this tragedy. From that we formed the Bully Zero Australia Foundation, I as a chair and Jane on the board, and that foundation continues today to deliver services to people who are bullied, to schools, to community groups, to workplaces and to those who bully right across this country, trying to save people from self-harm, trying to help with their mental illnesses and absolutely trying to save their lives. From that, Jane Garrett and I developed a wonderful friendship, a deep friendship. We would find ourselves chatting in this place often. We would walk around the parliamentary gardens, and we would catch up at our usual meeting spot outside the chook house.

Jane Garrett cared deeply for people. She cared deeply for those who needed support, she cared deeply for her family and her friends and she cared deeply for people who were bullied, ironically because she was bullied herself. But it did not deter her for one second. She was determined to help people no matter what. It did not deter her from her principles, her passions, her care.

I loved seeing Jane. I loved our catch-ups. I loved her saying, ‘How’re you going, matey?’, often wearing that bright pink jacket. We kept in touch, particularly over the last little while. We would text and we would occasionally chat. My faith says that I will see her again, and I am looking forward to that. Of course our love, our heart, goes to her family and her friends. Hey, Jane? Catch you soon, matey.

Ms TERPSTRA (Eastern Metropolitan) (10:21): It was only a few short weeks ago that I was very saddened to learn of the loss of my colleague Jane Garrett. I want to say at the outset I extend my heartfelt sympathies and deepest condolences to Jane’s friends, family and loved ones, in particular her dad, Graeme, and her children, Molly, Sasha and Max.

Like previous contributors on this condolence motion I was also very fortunate to have witnessed Jane’s many fine contributions that she made in this chamber. It has been really refreshing to hear that so many of us shared the gladness and the joy that Jane would bring to us when she was on her feet in this chamber. She was a very fine orator, intelligent, witty, well versed in many subjects, with a very fierce intellect. It was always a pleasure to watch Jane in this chamber when she was on her feet.

She made a positive contribution to this place as well as the broader labour movement. Jane was a strident and passionate advocate for the many Labor causes she stood for. Jane was bold. She was brave and gutsy to the very end. She was a fighter and someone you would want in your corner when you were facing a tough battle. Long may there continue to be a very long line of strong, independent, freethinking women to come through the doors of this place and who will make their way into politics without being ushered in or auspiced by male party elders. We need women to speak truth to power, to continue to question, to challenge and to change dominant cultures, for there is very little value in choosing a path of more of the same, and Jane certainly did not offer that.

It is often remarked upon about how men in politics are viewed—terms such as ‘influential’, ‘a warrior’, ‘a great tactician’ or ‘a thinker’—but women are seldomly viewed in the same way, a clear double standard in my view, because Jane was certainly all of those things that I mentioned, but she was much, much more. She was a mother, a sister, a friend to many and a colleague to all of us in this place, and her contributions should not go unnoticed. Her family and loved ones have every right to feel proud of not only her efforts in politics locally and in this place but also the contribution she made to the state of Victoria. Politics is a rough, brutal and bruising game just about all the time, but when we see someone’s Labor values shine through it really is a remarkable thing. Purpose is what drove Jane, and she will be missed by many. Sadly she has gone far too soon. She will be forever young. Vale, Jane Garrett.

Mr MEDDICK (Western Victoria) (10:24): First of all, my heartfelt condolences from my family to the family of Jane Garrett and her extended family, friends and colleagues.

I have long come to accept that people will come into my life unexpectedly and make an impact I did not foresee. This has never been more evident and more in focus than in my short time here, and Jane Garrett certainly made a huge impact on me. I am a politics nerd. I have watched many members of this chamber and the other place over the years, and I consider Jane Garrett a giant—an absolute giant. I was absolutely terrified when I came into this place and found that I was sat next to Jane. How on earth was I going to live up to that? And there was no way that I possibly could of course.

It was extraordinary to watch her, as Mr Barton spoke about—and I have got one up on you, mate, I just want to say. You were horrified at having to follow her? I was always terrified at having to be in front of her when she spoke, because she was just extraordinary. When I sat down she would say, ‘That was good. That was fantastic’. She would give me every bit of encouragement. Then she would stand up and say, ‘Well, it’s always a hard act to follow Mr Meddick’. But I tell you what, the first thing she did was blow me out of the park. She was just extraordinary to watch and extraordinary to hear, and every one of us in this place is enriched by having watched her. I have to confess that I was absolutely terrified—again, as I said, I had a real fanboy moment when I came in. I was horrified, and yet I was just in admiration, at having to sit here next to her.

I will leave that there but for one thing. I will paraphrase Charles Dickens: life is made up of meetings and partings; that is the way of it. I am sure we will never forget Jane or her parting from among us. Vale, Jane, comrade, warrior, teller of bad jokes, stealer of pens, friend.

Ms PULFORD (Western Victoria—Minister for Employment, Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy, Minister for Small Business, Minister for Resources) (10:27): Like her own children now do, Jane Garrett knew what it was to lose a mother in her 40s to cancer. That must have weighed heavily on her. To Sasha, Molly and Max: it is difficult to properly convey the deep sadness I feel for your loss and this journey that you are now on. Your mum was excellent, and I stand in solidarity with you and your extended family. I have no doubt that Jane’s children know how fiercely their mother loved them, and I wish them peace and strength as they navigate their lives without their mum’s physical presence but with their mum’s spirit and love wrapped around them like a blanket—perhaps a blanket just like that—wherever they go and whatever they do for the rest of their lives.

I cannot recall when I met Jane, because she was always around. Our husbands worked together in the late 1990s. We became friends quite some years later when she was elected to the Parliament. She was a marvellous intellect, a sublime orator and communicator, with a fire inside her to fight for fairness that burned so bright.

The thing about being in opposition is that it is really, truly awful. The only thing that it has to recommend it is the friendships forged in the great battle to bring down the government. Jane was right at the centre of that energy that united our generation of new Labor MPs. By the time Jane was done with us everyone had a ‘y’ stuck on the end of their name. Wade became Wadey, Carbs became Carby and I became Jaalsy—like, what is that?—always at full volume. Right, Geppy?

Mr Gepp interjected.

Ms PULFORD: Yep. In the days following Jane’s death Brooksy showed me a photo that captures that time perfectly: hard work, great mates, a shared goal. Jane was exceptionally good fun. And that 40th birthday—well, it was one for the ages.

Jane and I each had this jacket that I am wearing today. It was my favourite, and it was her favourite at the same time. From time to time early in the morning of a sitting day in particular we would swap texts: ‘Are you wearing our jacket today?’. ‘Oh, good, no. Then I will’. And then one evening, around the time of the first or second COAG meeting convened by Australia’s new and first and to this day only female Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, my phone pinged. You could almost hear the shouting through the text message: ‘Oh, my God, Julia is wearing our jacket!’. And from then on, the morning texts caused us to wonder if we ought to let the PM in on it lest she be caught in an awkward fashion moment turning up at an event with the three of us looking like triplets.

In the final role of her decorated career, Jane served as Parliamentary Secretary for Jobs. She led the development of Victoria’s social enterprise strategy. Jane said she was truly inspired by the sector’s creativity, collaboration, resilience and ability to deliver tangible benefits to society. She loved visiting social enterprises and meeting the inspirational people who run them. The very first day that Jane took leave coincided with the launch of the strategy that she had guided to completion. It was a fitting final act in a career that was always about improving the lives of others.

Nick Verginis, the CEO of SENVIC, paid tribute to Jane with these words:

Always fun, authentic and a fierce intellect, we were so fortunate to have Jane Garrett as our vibrant champion for Social Enterprise. Her thought leadership and stewardship of the Victorian Social Enterprise Strategy Working Group led to the global award-winning strategy. A huge loss.

Libby Ward-Christie, the director for the Centre for Social Impact, said:

Social enterprise is all the stronger for Jane’s leadership.

If it could be said that people have a volume knob that goes up to 10, Jane’s went to 11. She worked and she played and she loved at full volume. She was a fierce and a loyal friend, and there are many people, including a number here today, that can attest to that. Jane was a joy to be around and to share a laugh with. I have shared howls of laughter with Jane. I have shared howls of tears with her. To Jane’s closest friends and family, to Graeme, to Catherine, you have my deepest condolences. Finally, it seems incongruous to want to head to the nearest bar on hearing of the death of a dear friend, but that was Jane, and it was Veuve Clicquot of course.

Ms PATTEN (Northern Metropolitan) (10:32): I am saddened but privileged to be part of this condolence. I too cannot actually remember the time that I met Jane, but I remember a particular time when—I had met her many times before that—I had just been elected. It was in 2014 and I was sitting in Rathdowne Street kind of thinking, ‘Shit, what have I done?’. Jane came past and saw me, ordered a bottle of wine and sat down with me for a couple of hours and was just so generous in her support, in her insights, in her ideas. She gave me quite a bit of wine, which ended in some greater confidence I think. I do not know whether it was the wine, but it was certainly her words.

Later she opened my office, and she was so genuine in her joy and genuine in her happiness for us. We were not on the same team, obviously, but she made me feel like it was important, and it is important that we are in here. Last night I was looking at some of her contributions, because it was just so lovely, as so many have said, to hear her speak, to hear that laugh, to feel that smile. But one contribution that I remembered was during birth certificate legislation in this place. She talked about her own struggles with the ‘y’ in Jayne, in her name, and it was not at the end, it was in the middle. So it was ‘Jayne’ with a ‘y’, not ‘Janey’. Although I am sure she was ‘Janey’ as well to many of her friends. But she said at that time:

We have such a solemn responsibility as parliamentarians, and in a debate such as this we are literally holding the wellbeing of people in our hands.

Then she went on to say:

When I first came into Parliament, in my inaugural speech I spoke about what I wanted to do and be in every decision that I made in Parliament.

We felt that every time she spoke: she was in that. It was her. She was giving so much of her when she spoke. She went on to say that:

At the centre of it was respect for every corner of our community, and for me respect is that you see, respect is that you hear and respect is that you act.

And like probably no-one else we will see, she did that so respectfully, so deeply, so passionately and often so poignantly. Then she went on to say:

There is no greater example or requirement for respect than when we are debating in this chamber, and all of us to the best of my knowledge enjoy a right that a small group of our community do not enjoy. When we are charged with that responsibility, we must see the people that we are making decisions about. Most importantly, we must hear the people and then we must act.

Those words will stay with me. That is actually the advice that she gave in many different ways. That is the sentiment that she provided in so many of her contributions in here, in so many of her contributions in the electorates.

As so many said, we loved hearing Jane speak, whether that was in this place, whether that was in the community or whether that was even at a polling booth. I used to love standing next to Jane at polling booths during election time. It was joyous. There was much laughter, much banter and quite often—not from me of course but from Jane—singing. You always felt that she had time for the issue that you wanted to discuss with her and that she had time for you. I know that people in the electorate, since her passing, have also said that. Certainly a number of the people who worked on Rathdowne Street commented about this a lot. Whether she was talking about cemeteries or bushfires or payroll tax she was insightful, she was poignant and, as many have said, she was often very funny.

To James and Molly, Sasha and Max; to Graeme; to Catherine; to all her friends and all her colleagues, we will deeply miss her. My heart bleeds for you. The world is a lesser place with your loss. From the team from my office and from the Reason Party, vale, the fabulous Jane Garrett.

Ms WATT (Northern Metropolitan) (10:38): To Catherine and Graeme, thank you for being here as we mark our sorry time, as it is known in my culture, at the passing of our sister Jane Garrett. In our way now we know that Jane rests with her ancestors and we ask ourselves if she came here, to this place and this building—I mean to our community—with purpose. That is what we ask ourselves as people pass up above to be with their ancestors. As many that loved her and cared about her ask about Jane, what did she give, what purpose did she bring to her life? The list is just so long.

I have asked time and time again members of my community what they knew, what they loved about Jane. She gave of herself a life of service to our state and to our community, but for me she gave to our local neighbourhood. She left her legacy up and down Sydney Road and surrounds. I get to live in the legacy of Jane in Brunswick, and you know what? It is pretty special. It is a unique and special privilege to meet community groups, services, elders, seniors groups, multicultural groups, and all of them say, time and time again, ‘Sit down, love. Let’s make you a cup of tea, and I’m gonna tell you about Jane’.

I did not know to expect that. This job, when I started only 18 months ago, has meant that I have talked to so many groups who have with such pride shown me around their home, their neighbourhood centre, their multicultural group, their seniors knitting group—I mean, the list is kind of endless. But I need to say they are filled with such pride—such, such pride—so that rests with me now.

What also rests with me are the enormous stories of Jane from members of the Brunswick branch. I have had the great privilege of serving, with Jane, the people of the Brunswick branch, so on behalf of them can I pass on my condolences. They knew Jane for a really long time—in fact some said, ‘I’ve known Jane since she was this big’. The stories have been remarkable and really special, and the folks in Brunswick are still collating them. There were still stories to be told as recently as—I do not know—about an hour ago that they wanted me to share. So I do not have them right now for you because they are still coming in. There are still clippings that are being picked out of the collection in the shed about all the things that she did, and that is a really special thing. So know that that is something that the Brunswick branch wanted me to share with you—how very, very much they love and adore her.

There is so much that I could say, but I want to talk about the iconic photo of Jane on Sydney Road, right in front of the number 19 tram, looking fierce, determined and proud. That to me is the memory that rests when I think about Jane, so it will be forever burnt in my memory.

In this place I connected with Jane about stroke care and rehabilitation. She questioned the system with me. We sat in her office and we talked, and she made me think about how to improve the lives and circumstances of stroke survivors and their families. Her advice will rest with me always and will guide me. Thank you to Jane. We had a shared experience of life with stroke. So thank you for all that you have given me. To Sasha, Molly and Max, know that your mum came with purpose and her memory will not soon fade. Vale, Jane.

Mr FINN (Western Metropolitan) (10:43): I rise to associate myself and the DLP with the motion moved by the Leader of the Government today. It was with great sadness and deep shock that I learned of the passing of Jane Garrett around about a month ago. I remember that moment very well. I looked at my phone, and I just could not believe it. I called out to my wife and told her that they were reporting that Jane had died, and she could not believe it either. We all knew that she had been ill for quite some time, but like many of us I think I was of the view that she had beaten it. We had thought that she had got over it, but sadly that was not to be.

It is very, very sad today for me to speak on this, because on those all too rare occasions when I shared Jane’s company I enjoyed that company immensely. She was a fun person. She was bright. She had a tremendous sense of humour, a great wit, and she used it—she really knew how to use it. I have to say, she had more reason than most in this place to be resentful, perhaps even hateful, but I never detected any of that in Jane. She rose above it. She was the bigger person, and that is a great accolade to pay anybody.

I deeply regret that our crossfire, if we could call it crossfire, will be no more in this chamber. There was never any bitterness involved—I think we were more baiting each other than anything else—and I suspect that she enjoyed it as much as I did. I deeply regret that we will not be doing that anymore.

I deeply regret that we will no longer share a joke in the corridors of this building or during a division, when Mr Gepp, Ms Garrett and I would gather over there in the corner and tell all manner of jokes until such time as we were told to go back to our own sides. I am still working out which one that was—but still.

One thing I do not regret is that very shortly after Jane came into this place I sidled up to her one day, which probably alarmed her somewhat, but I did it anyway, and I told her exactly what I thought of her—not in a way that I might usually do. I told her that I admired her enormously. I told her that I admired her integrity, I admired her principles and I admired her courage. Colloquially, she was one hell of a gutsy lady, and that is something that perhaps I will always remember. As I say, I admired her greatly, and that admiration continues.

I spoke yesterday in this place of the low opinion that the general community has of many in our political profession, and that is altogether too true. If we had more Jane Garretts in Parliament, that would not be the case. It could not possibly be the case, because to know Jane was to at least like her. Even if you had political disagreements, you just had to think, ‘This is one great lady. She really is a great human being’. I think that got through to a lot of people right across this state, particularly over the last three or four years. People saw a side of Jane that perhaps they did not know existed, and they really, really liked it. So I say that Jane has left a lot of memories for a lot of us, me included, and I am just so sad that there will be no more.

To Jane’s dad, Graeme, I cannot say I know exactly how you feel, but I do well remember my own mother’s funeral. She was taken by breast cancer at the age of 50, and at the graveside my grandfather turned to me and said, ‘No parent should have to bury their child’. I saw the pain in his face, I heard the pain in his voice and it gave me some understanding of what Graeme has been going through over the past month and will continue, undoubtedly, to go through.

To Jane’s husband, James, there really is not anything I can say to ease your pain, but I know that behind every great woman is a great man. I want to thank him for the support that he gave Jane over such a long period of time and to thank him for lending Jane to us to allow her to make the contribution that she did.

To Molly, to Sasha and to Max, I feel so sorry for you. I feel heartbroken for you. Please know that your mum was loved and admired the length and breadth of this state. As Mr Gepp pointed out a little earlier in an outstanding contribution—I will not say that again, so get that on paper, on tape or on something—the three of you are your mum’s greatest legacy. But she left you a legacy too. That legacy is the example that she set: strong, caring, compassionate and honest. You will not go wrong if you live the same sort of fulfilment that your mother made so memorable to us all. You should be, and you undoubtedly are, so incredibly proud of your mum.

My very deepest sympathy to all the family involved and to Jane’s friends as well, who are undoubtedly suffering the pain and the heartbreak as well. I send my most sincere sympathy and condolences to you all. Vale, Jane Garrett. May God bless and keep you always.

Mr ERDOGAN (Southern Metropolitan) (10:50): Thank you, President, for the opportunity to honour my late colleague and friend the Honourable Jane Garrett. So much of what has been said and what will be said in today’s proceedings has illustrated the life dedicated to service. Through Jane’s career as a lawyer, as a local government representative and ultimately as a member of this Parliament and a minister of the Crown, Jane carried with her the values of equality, social justice and a dedication to the rights of working people.

I knew and worked with Jane for many years in many different roles. Whilst I was a councillor at Moreland City Council and Jane was the member for Brunswick, we shared a constituency. It was there that I had the opportunity to see firsthand how she put her values into practice as a passionate representative for Melbourne’s north. She was much loved across Melbourne’s north and in the electorate of Wills. She was a large personality. Her friends and family networks ran from Carlton across to Brunswick and all the way through to the ring-road. She was well loved not just in Brunswick but in the whole region surrounding it.

I ultimately became a parliamentary colleague of Jane’s in 2019. On my arrival to this place she was warm and welcoming, full of advice and jokes—an old friend in a new environment. As Geppy alluded to, she also always loved to share a glass of wine. Jane was a very strong public performer both in the community and in the Parliament. As many have already reflected on, her contributions to debates in this chamber were always intelligent, considered and sensible, interwoven with her signature sense of humour. As a new MP I valued the example she set. She was always a very tough act to follow.

I know she will be missed by so many people, this Parliament, the Australian Labor Party and the entire labour movement. We have really lost someone very remarkable. Of course it is her loving family that will miss her the most. My thoughts have been with Jane’s family, Molly, Sasha, Max and James, in these past weeks. As someone who lost my own mother to cancer, I know it is never easy. Nothing will make their loss easier, but I know truly that Jane Garrett was a remarkable person who undoubtedly left the world a better place than she found it. Be proud of her, as she was of you. Vale, Jane Garrett. May she rest in peace.

Ms MAXWELL (Northern Victoria) (10:53): I rise today to speak and pay homage to someone who we all know was a beautiful woman, the Honourable Jane Garrett, a woman who I only knew for 3½ years, but that time was spent enjoying Jane’s wisdom, intellect and company and listening to her laughter. Jane was a person who spoke in this place with dedication, authenticity and great passion. She was a genuine woman who always wanted the best for all those around her. I remember seeing on my phone the news that Jane had passed, and like hearing that message of when Lady Di had passed away, I will never forget what I was doing at that time. It was absolute disbelief. This must have been a mistake. This cannot be true. How can we lose somebody who made such an incredible contribution to life and to her family?

I have to say that Jane and I shared a cup of tea at times. However, that may be not entirely true. We all know that Jane loved a little drop of red, and it was over a glass or three that we bonded and shared stories. All the while I would sit and listen with enormous admiration for a woman who I believed could have one day been the Premier of this state. Prior to entering this place, my colleague Mr Grimley and I were fully aware of Jane and her work within this Parliament, which many of you have articulated so beautifully today. In particular when she was Minister for Emergency Services I recall seeing Jane in the media during what was a terribly difficult time that has well been documented. I remember thinking what a courageous person Jane was, and the integrity that she showed in the most difficult of times was something for us all to behold—a beautiful woman who, like Fiona Richardson, has been taken far too soon and a woman who I will always remember as the smiling, courageous and formidable woman that she was.

On behalf of Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party we express our sincere sympathy to Jane’s husband, James, her children, Molly, Sasha and Max, indeed all of Jane’s family, friends and colleagues and in particular her partner in crime, Mr Gepp. Rest in peace, Jane, and may we all take a leaf from your book of integrity and kindness.

Mr MELHEM (Western Metropolitan) (10:57): Jane Garrett was a warrior who always stood up for what was right. In fact I think of Jane as we speak enjoying a glass of red and watching over us here, watching people in this chamber saying great things about her. It is not the first time but one of the many times I think members of Parliament here are speaking the absolute truth, because politicians will always be told, ‘Well, you are meddling with the truth sometimes’. I think we are all speaking from the heart, reflecting on the life of Jane Garrett. I do not think many members of Parliament or politicians will have people from all sides of politics speak about them when they depart in the way everyone has spoken in this chamber about Jane Garrett, including my good friend Mr Gepp, as she always called him. Mark and I and Jane spent a lot of time together over the last few years, either in her office or my office or Geppy’s office or in Strangers having a glass of wine or a cup of tea, just reflecting about what was happening.

But I just want to note that it was a great honour and pleasure working closely with Jane in this house in the last few years. She was a person of immense substance and knowledge. Jane never compromised her principles, and she was genuine and passionate in her commitment to representing her electorate and her ministerial portfolio.

Jane never gave up. When she set a challenge for herself, she never gave up. One of the first encounters I had spending close time with Jane was during the 2018 preselection, when she decided to run against all the odds for the Western Metropolitan Region. Jane, Ingrid Stitt and I went and visited every single branch of the Labor Party in the western suburbs of Melbourne, and people used to call us the three amigos. We always said polite things about each other. She presented herself well, and, as I said, against all the odds she decided to run. She did not win that preselection, but she did not give up. Not long after that she got preselected to be a member for Eastern Victoria and she came to this place. That is how we all in this place had the honour to meet and work with Jane and know her very closely.

Jane had a strong commitment to the Labor Party—I think it was second to none—and to the great labour movement. Throughout her career she was a passionate campaigner for workers rights and always stood her ground for what she believed in. Jane and her husband, James, warmly welcomed me into their lives, and I remember fondly the many good times we had. I remember talking to Jane one day a few years ago, and I had a federal court matter. I said, ‘I need a good lawyer. Do you know of anyone?’. And she said, ‘Oh, my James. Just give him a ring’. I said, ‘Okay, well, give me his number and I’ll ring him’, and she said, ‘No, I’ll call him’. She called James, and James was in my office within an hour because Jane told him I needed his help. Unfortunately James has been ill in the last few years recovering from a major stroke. I am just thinking today about the kids, about losing one parent, and another parent is hopefully recovering. The good news is, I am hoping, that James will recover, so I think he can be there for the kids.

I just want to pass on my deepest personal, heartfelt condolences to her husband, James, to Molly, Sasha and Max. I think we talked about Graeme. And Mr Finn, you are absolutely right: no parent should ever bury their child. And her sister, Catherine, as Mr Gepp talked about—the mountain of work she has been doing pulling everyone together in the last few weeks and putting together the state funeral, at which we are all going to have another opportunity to celebrate the life of Jane in the next few weeks. Jane fought bravely against an insidious disease that claims many, like Jane, way too young. Her legacy will live through the outstanding work she achieved in her professional life and personal life. Jane, rest in peace, my friend. As Mr Finn said, we might have another glass of wine—hopefully not too soon, but I am looking forward to catching up with you again. Rest in peace.

Mr LIMBRICK (South Eastern Metropolitan) (11:02): On behalf of the Liberal Democrats I would like to offer my deepest sincere condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of the Honourable Jane Garrett. In particular my thoughts are with her children. I know what it is like to lose a parent as a child, and I hope that, if not today, one day in the future the words spoken by the people in this place today will provide them some comfort. I was not close to Ms Garrett, but you could say that I was a bit of an admirer from afar. In fact many of my staff were also admirers of Jane. She was someone who was clearly passionate, intelligent, principled and of high integrity, and one of the few people in this place that—as I think someone remarked, they had never heard a bad word said about her; I think I can attest to that as well—I never heard a bad word said about.

Many people spoke about her contributions in this place, and I would say she is one of the few people that if I happened to be in the office with my staff they would say, ‘Sh! Jane’s about to speak’, and we would all have to shut up and listen to what she had to say. On many occasions I have witnessed Jane stand—I could see her, she was ready to speak, sitting there patiently but almost about to explode. She would have these piles of meticulously prepared notes which, when she stood up, she proceeded to drop and just speak straight from her heart. It really was something to watch, and I can certainly attest to that. I am also very thankful for the fact that unlike Dr Ratnam and Mr Finn, I was never on the receiving end of one of those, so I am very thankful for that as well.

I acknowledge the sadness that many of her colleagues are feeling today. It is obvious for anyone to see, and I hope that the truthful contributions of people here about their views on Ms Garrett and her contributions to this place and to life in general provide some sort of comfort to that sadness. May she rest in peace.

Ms TAYLOR (Southern Metropolitan) (11:05): I was, like so many here—probably everyone—really shocked to hear of her tragic passing. Aside from the obvious, it was just hard to imagine someone with so much gumption was gone. I could not believe it.

As a newer MP I want to reflect on her outstanding parliamentary contributions, as so many here have already today. She was always engaging, and isn’t that a theme that has run through steadily here this morning? You felt compelled to listen. You could not look away. She had a way about her. She was articulate and insightful with a razor-sharp wit, and she was extremely skilled at getting to the heart of a matter expediently as she cleverly navigated the bills and motions of the house. She never needed much time to prepare, although maybe that was a mirage; maybe there was a lot more going on behind the scenes. As a whip, can I say it was a gift. I loved it. I would say, ‘Here we’ve got this incredibly complex and delicate matter’, and she would say, ‘Yep’, and then she would just do it. She would come in here, and she was her fabulous self. But there was also a wonderful cheekiness, and I think that only enhanced her incredible impact in her contributions. I say as a colleague I feel a sense of gratitude for what she delivered here in the chamber, because I know how difficult it can be to simplify concepts which are incredibly convoluted and loaded. She was able to bring it down to a very simple point and she had cut through, and that is a truly magnificent achievement.

My sincerest condolences to her father, Graeme; her sister, Catherine; her husband, James; her three children, Molly, Sasha and Max; and all others who were close to her. Vale, Jane Garrett.

Mr BOURMAN (Eastern Victoria) (11:07): I was in the 58th Parliament, and I watched the events that led to Jane coming to this place. I wondered how someone from Brunswick was going to represent people in Eastern Victoria. Well, it soon became apparent how. I am not going to go through everything that people said, but just the way she conducted herself, her personality and the way she threw herself into her job shone through. Probably the most telling thing is that when I first put it on my social media that Jane had passed away—I have got a very parochial constituency—I had nothing but sadness come through, so I think that shows the depth of character that she had.

Little did we know the last time we said goodbye would be the last time we would get to say goodbye to her. I was not that close to Jane, but I am still kind of dealing with that. Every time the adjournment bells would go I reckon the only two people that were out of here faster than me were Mr Gepp and Jane. I had nothing on them. I was still on my way back, and they were in the distance. I guess you are on your own now, Geppy.

Much has been said: fierce, witty, intelligent, honourable. I think we should all aspire to be remembered like Jane. It is not easy in this place. My condolences to her family, her friends and all those that knew her. Also every time I wanted a pen, Jane had one. Now I know where she got them from.

Dr KIEU (South Eastern Metropolitan) (11:09): I rise with a heavy, heavy heart to pay respect and homage to Jane Garrett and express my deepest sympathies and condolences to her family and her loved ones, particularly to her partner, James; her three children, Molly, Max and Sasha; her father, Graeme; and her sister, Catherine. Like Mr Finn has said, no parent should have to bury their children, and that is the experience that my family had too.

As a newly arrived rookie to this place I have to confess that I did not know Jane personally, but her great reputation preceded her. From the few interactions that I had with her before she took a leave of absence I grew to admire and respect her as a great person. I had been told that she had to be absent from the chamber to look after her partner, James, who was recovering from a stroke, but little did I know that she was in a very serious condition. That was the reason that she passed on the baton to me to be the deputy chair of the Legal and Social Issues Committee. Then on 2 July I was in complete shock when I learned from the group on WhatsApp from Mr Gepp, before the news broke out in the media, that Jane had passed away. So soon a remarkable life had been taken.

For Jane I have nothing but respect and admiration. Jane, you will be remembered as a person of great qualities, of great personality, of great intellect, but above all, of utmost integrity. Vale, Jane Garrett.

Mr HAYES (Southern Metropolitan) (11:12): I was not really going to speak—I did not know Jane that well personally—but this is such a sad day that I had to stand up. I have been very moved. I just think of Jane all the time as a warm and generous, intelligent and fun person.

I met Jane back in 2010 when I was mayor of Bayside and I went on a weekend called the ‘Essential Mayors Weekend’, which was an induction sort of weekend—or an indoctrination weekend—done by the Municipal Association of Victoria. It was funny, but she was there as she was mayor of Yarra, and there were other luminaries like Steve Staikos from Kingston, Jack Wegman from Boroondara and Tim Smith from Prahran—we were all mayors. I must say Jane led the fun for the whole weekend. She was just out there, racing around and getting everyone to come down and have a swim. Not many had brought their bathers and could partake, but anyway Jane was encouraging everyone. It was a very funny weekend. And then I met Jane while out campaigning too and handing out how-to-vote cards in Brunswick, and she was witty and fun there as well, as has been spoken about here.

My condolences to her family and friends. She was welcoming to me when I came to Parliament too. It is very sad. I think she is still with us in spirit; I really believe that. She just brought something to this chamber, which we have all spoken about today. Vale, Jane Garrett.

The PRESIDENT: I ask members to signify their assent to the motion by rising in their places for 1 minute.

Motion agreed to in silence, members showing unanimous agreement by standing in their places.

The PRESIDENT: As a further mark of respect to the memory of the Honourable Jane Garrett MLC, the house will suspend for the remainder of the sitting and therefore adjourn until tomorrow.

House adjourned 11.16 am.