Ms PATTEN (Northern Metropolitan) (10:32): I am saddened but privileged to be part of this condolence. I too cannot actually remember the time that I met Jane, but I remember a particular time when—I had met her many times before that—I had just been elected. It was in 2014 and I was sitting in Rathdowne Street kind of thinking, ‘Shit, what have I done?’. Jane came past and saw me, ordered a bottle of wine and sat down with me for a couple of hours and was just so generous in her support, in her insights, in her ideas. She gave me quite a bit of wine, which ended in some greater confidence I think. I do not know whether it was the wine, but it was certainly her words.
Later she opened my office, and she was so genuine in her joy and genuine in her happiness for us. We were not on the same team, obviously, but she made me feel like it was important, and it is important that we are in here. Last night I was looking at some of her contributions, because it was just so lovely, as so many have said, to hear her speak, to hear that laugh, to feel that smile. But one contribution that I remembered was during birth certificate legislation in this place. She talked about her own struggles with the ‘y’ in Jayne, in her name, and it was not at the end, it was in the middle. So it was ‘Jayne’ with a ‘y’, not ‘Janey’. Although I am sure she was ‘Janey’ as well to many of her friends. But she said at that time:
We have such a solemn responsibility as parliamentarians, and in a debate such as this we are literally holding the wellbeing of people in our hands.
Then she went on to say:
When I first came into Parliament, in my inaugural speech I spoke about what I wanted to do and be in every decision that I made in Parliament.
We felt that every time she spoke: she was in that. It was her. She was giving so much of her when she spoke. She went on to say that:
At the centre of it was respect for every corner of our community, and for me respect is that you see, respect is that you hear and respect is that you act.
And like probably no-one else we will see, she did that so respectfully, so deeply, so passionately and often so poignantly. Then she went on to say:
There is no greater example or requirement for respect than when we are debating in this chamber, and all of us to the best of my knowledge enjoy a right that a small group of our community do not enjoy. When we are charged with that responsibility, we must see the people that we are making decisions about. Most importantly, we must hear the people and then we must act.
Those words will stay with me. That is actually the advice that she gave in many different ways. That is the sentiment that she provided in so many of her contributions in here, in so many of her contributions in the electorates.
As so many said, we loved hearing Jane speak, whether that was in this place, whether that was in the community or whether that was even at a polling booth. I used to love standing next to Jane at polling booths during election time. It was joyous. There was much laughter, much banter and quite often—not from me of course but from Jane—singing. You always felt that she had time for the issue that you wanted to discuss with her and that she had time for you. I know that people in the electorate, since her passing, have also said that. Certainly a number of the people who worked on Rathdowne Street commented about this a lot. Whether she was talking about cemeteries or bushfires or payroll tax she was insightful, she was poignant and, as many have said, she was often very funny.
To James and Molly, Sasha and Max; to Graeme; to Catherine; to all her friends and all her colleagues, we will deeply miss her. My heart bleeds for you. The world is a lesser place with your loss. From the team from my office and from the Reason Party, vale, the fabulous Jane Garrett.
Fiona Patten MP
Leader of Reason
Member for Northern Metropolitan Region
Condolence motion 3/8/22