Senate debates

Monday, 28 March 2022


Kitching, Senator Kimberley Jane Elizabeth

11:34 am

Photo of Malarndirri McCarthyMalarndirri McCarthy (NT, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

I too put on the record that the year Senator Kimberley Kitching came into the Senate was the same year that I came into the Senate. As Don said, there was a bit of a bonding of those of us who were the class of 2016. It was a bonding that only those in that class can talk about, as we all reflect on the different years that each of us have come in as senators in this place.

I put on the record, on behalf of the people of the Northern Territory and on behalf of the First Nations federal Labor caucus, our deepest condolences to you, Andrew, to Mr and Mrs Kitching, and to Ben. Sorry business is very sacred business, as First Nations people, and as a Yanyuwa woman from the Gulf Country I can tell you we speak straight. Liantha Wirriyarra baginda yamalu yinda. We are people whose spiritual origin comes from the sea country. I ask, are you doing okay this day? Sorry business is so sacred, and the spirit of the people that we love is first and foremost the most important part of that sacred sorry business. It is good and right and proper that we speak today with the utmost dignity and respect for Kimberley's service to this Senate, to our country and to her family and to the people of Victoria. It is with great sadness that we reflect that we have lost someone so young.

I was travelling in Central Australia when I heard the news and I cannot express how I felt when I heard, so there is no way we can express how the family of Kimberley must be feeling. We can look only at our own experiences in sorrow and grief to know that it is one that numbs you completely. It is a place where you cannot see things, where you're blinded by your tears and the ache of losing someone that you never thought you would lose. That is a place that each of us experiences at different times in our own life, but today it is the life of Andrew, Mr and Mrs Kitching, Ben and the dear friends of Kimberley. We must uphold the importance of that grief and sorrow, and rise above whatever imperfections we each may have, because the beauty of having worked beside Kimberley is that she has made an enormous difference to our country on so many levels. It is a difference that is so deeply personal for some, a new life for others. The example at the funeral given by Bill, of how Kimberley assisted with the Afghans in leaving Kabul, was just one incredible significant difference she made to the lives of so many people. It is an example that holds to the highest of what Kimberley was, and it is that which we must value and remember always.

To all the colleagues here—and in particular her staff, who I know are deeply distressed and need as much support and love around them as anyone else—I say: thank you for your work with Senator Kitching, and for your diligence, long hours and advice. I'm sure you heard so many things. Please know that your service to this parliament is also deeply respected.

Mr and Mrs Kitching, can I just say that to attend and meet with you on Sunday, at the rosary at St Patrick's Cathedral, was a really special moment because, for us as First Nations people, we know that that ceremony begins when the family truly come together with open hearts, and you welcomed all of us who came there that afternoon. And to you, Andrew, my heart goes out to you. Yo bauji barra. That's all for now, thank you.


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