House debates

Thursday, 24 November 2011


Larkham, Mrs Maureen

1:59 pm

Photo of Julia GillardJulia Gillard (Lalor, Australian Labor Party, Prime Minister) Share this | | Hansard source

Turning to another topic on indulgence, if I may, firstly, Mr Speaker, I congratulate Anna Burke on her election as Deputy Speaker. We all know what a fantastic job she did on the last occasion, and I know she will do a fantastic job on this occasion too. Mr Speaker, dealing with a separate topic and with something that I know is of concern to you and to Ms Burke, I acknowledge the sad news that we have received this morning of the death of Maureen Larkham. Members will remember Maureen as chief attendant in the Main Committee. One of the reasons I looked over at the Deputy Speaker is that she has presided there on many occasions. The parliamentary assistants from around the parliament will remember Maureen very honourably. She was a friendly person, she was valued as a mentor to many of them and she played a role in assisting them with starting their careers in this place. Our thoughts are with her husband, Geoff, her children and her grandchildren today. On behalf of all members of the House, I say to all of our attendants pursuing their duties in this parliament that we are very sorry to hear this news of loss and we are grieving with them. We all are very much focused on this loss and also on the circumstances of her family at this time.

Photo of Peter SlipperPeter Slipper (Fisher, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I am sure that all honourable members associate themselves with the remarks of the Prime Minister.

2:01 pm

Photo of Tony AbbottTony Abbott (Warringah, Liberal Party, Leader of the Opposition) Share this | | Hansard source

Mr Speaker, on indulgence, I wish to briefly add to the remarks of the Prime Minister. It is a sad thing to lose a member of the parliamentary family and Maureen Larkham was a member of the parliamentary family, not a member of parliament but one of those people who make the parliament work. Maureen was legendary as someone of kindness, of gentleness and of decency in a parliament which is not always kind or gentle or decent. She stood for all the things that we like to think characterise the people of our country whose welfare we try to advance in this parliament.

I note that Maureen was very close to one of my own staff members, Di Honan. Maureen recently attended Di's wedding and I know Di has been particularly affected by Maureen's passing. Our thoughts are with the family of Maureen—her husband, Geoff; her children, Rebecca and Stephen, the rugby international; and her grandchildren. She will be missed.