House debates

Monday, 24 August 2020

Statements by Members

Garritty, Mr Patrick 'Paddy'

1:36 pm

Photo of Tim WattsTim Watts (Gellibrand, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Assistant Minister for Communications) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise to celebrate the life of Paddy Garritty. A proudly militant trade unionist for the Painters and Dockers and for the Seamen's Union, Paddy was a beloved member of the labour movement in Victoria, and Australia. A champion of participation and engagement of working people in the arts, Paddy was a founding member of the Footscray Community Arts Centre and the arts officer at the Williamstown Naval Dockyard, where he enabled workers to contribute painting, sculpture, writing and music to onsite exhibitions. A publican and comrade to all, Paddy drove not only the establishment of Paddy's Bar at Trades Hall in Melbourne but also the flourishing of the Trades Hall as a venue for the arts. Finally, and most importantly, he was a husband to Mary Price, and Paddy boasted their marriage was his one great achievement. Given the scale of everything else he achieved in his life, that says something. The people who loved Paddy treasured his humour, his yarns, his passion for the underdog and his fight for a fairer society. His life changed my electorate for the better, in ways that will live on for many years. I know that many in my community are mourning his loss deeply and itching to celebrate his life, at Trades Hall, when pandemic restrictions permit.

Paddy had been ill for some time and died peacefully while suffering from COVID-19 in an aged-care centre in my electorate. I want to be clear that his life is not a statistic. It was rich, meaningful, full of love and passion. Paddy's life was a life to be valued and celebrated, and my thoughts are with his family and friends and everyone else who loved him.