Senate debates

Tuesday, 26 June 2018


Bennetts, Ms Maureen Elizabeth

7:20 pm

Photo of Jim MolanJim Molan (NSW, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise this evening to commemorate the life of a mother, a wife, a friend and a Liberal, Maureen Elizabeth Bennetts, who died aged 51 on 16 June this year—far, far too young. Maureen is the mother of Lyreda, Gene and Gil, and the wife of Richard Bennetts, who works in my office and has worked as an electoral officer in this building for some time. Maureen and her husband, Richard, had also been selectors for Eden-Monaro in the New South Wales division of the Liberal Party.

We commemorated Maureen's life in the Adaminaby Memorial Hall last Friday. Maureen was a Gilbert from the land around Adaminaby. The family still farms in the district, while the Bennetts have a house in the town and still own Creek House, the old family home.

Maureen left Adaminaby to go to school and university and made many lifelong friends there—especially at university—many of whom spoke in her memory on Friday. In particular, Anna, Mary and Michelle spoke fondly of school, university and about Maureen's travel in the UK as a young girl—our generation's rite of passage. Her good friend Matthew Mason-Cox MLC spoke of their long friendship from university onwards. Maureen's husband, Richard, and her son Gene spoke devotedly of their wife and mother, reflecting the fact that such all-encompassing sadness in mourning is the price we all pay for a loving relationship.

I met Maureen at the country shows we attended as Liberals in Eden-Monaro over the last five years. Maureen's dedication and highly principled approach to New South Wales' conservative politics was obvious to all during and after my preselection on the Senate ticket before the 2016 federal election. Maureen was also able to effectively reach across the entire New South Wales division. The words spoken to me by Senator Marise Payne, amongst others, reflect the extraordinarily high regard in which Maureen was held.

Maureen combined the best that country people bring to our community—worldly wise, knowledgeable, traditional values, passionate family orientation and never losing that earthiness that we associate with those who make a living from the land, the people of the Monaro. Rest in peace, Maureen.