House debates

Thursday, 4 July 2019


Godschalx, Mr Jason (JJ)

9:31 am

Photo of Tony SmithTony Smith (Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

It's with much sadness that I inform the House of the sudden passing last Friday of Jason Godschalx, known to most as JJ. A highly regarded and long-serving member of the Department of Parliamentary Services, Jason commenced work at Old Parliament House as a 16-year-old apprentice painter in 1985. JJ dedicated his adult life to the maintenance of this building. He took great pride in his work and was very much looking forward to the opening of this 46th Parliament. A bright and affable member of the fabrics team—and I can personally attest to this—JJ was known and liked by so many people who work in this building. He'll be sadly missed. I extend our sincere condolences to his family, friends and colleagues. On indulgence, I call the member for Rankin, who knew him as well.

9:32 am

Photo of Jim ChalmersJim Chalmers (Rankin, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Treasurer) Share this | | Hansard source

on indulgence—Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. I know that it's a special thing to recognise Jason Godschalx in this way and I appreciate that you are doing that. JJ was a mate of mine. He was a mate of Barb Pini, my colleague; Rob Carn, from the House of Reps; members of your own office, Mr Speaker; and probably many of us here were proud to call JJ a mate—I see the Treasurer nodding. No doubt he knew a number of us. No doubt he met a number of us in all that time since he became an apprentice painter in the old building in 1985. I know that the colleagues of his, so many of them who are in the gallery today, will miss him dearly, just like all of us who were mates with JJ will miss him very dearly.

JJ was a really tough guy. When he wasn't working here, he was frequently working as a bouncer at a number of the bars around Canberra. I confess that I knew him here and I also knew him in some of those places! I'd see him here in the day in his high-vis and then I'd see him at night in another uniform. He was a really tough guy, but he was so kind, very selfless. He would do anything for you. He did so much for so many people here. I can only imagine, for Mel and Karla and Casandra and his broader family, and his family here in the parliament as well, just how much you are grieving and hurting now.

To lose someone at 50 without any warning is a brutal thing. I'm so pleased you are marking it in this way, Mr Speaker. I know he was looking forward—starting to plan retirement and all of that sort of thing. They'd bought a little property outside of Canberra, a little farm. I know that he liked to spend his weekends there when he wasn't doing odd jobs for other people, such was his nature. He won't get the opportunity to retire at this farm, but he won't be forgotten in this place.