Monday, 14 July 2014
Statements by Members
Yatras, Mr Joe
When a person is elected to represent a community, we are given a unique honour to be part of changing the direction of a nation. Sometimes you meet a constituent who has a unique place in your heart. Joe Yatras, aged 52, was hit while riding his beloved Ducati motorbike and died a couple of days later in hospital from a heart attack. Joe had been an adventurous larrikin in his youth and had related health issues. Despite this, he was one of the greatest community advocates for people with a disability. He would often come to the electorate office with Dylan, his son with significant disabilities, and state categorically that certain government policies were doomed to fail because they missed some of the essential considerations.
His personality was larger than life and his convictions of right action were overwhelming. He coached local teams, assisted families, tinkered with his bike, listened to Iggy Pop and helped motorbike riders to raise awareness and funds for the Black Dog Foundation. He leaves behind his wife Gaynor, his children Dylan, Ethan and Elizabeth; a ton of goodwill and a great bunch of mates, many of whom were motorbike riders who rode before the hearse as a tribute to this amazing man. His dream of establishing a respite centre for young people with a disability is yet to be fulfilled and should be a beacon for us to work towards, remembering him always for his unflagging advocacy for those with a disability. Rest in peace, Joe.