Parliament: Other Speeches

Valedictory – Gerry Kandelaars

The Hon. K.L. VINCENT: I will say a few brief words on behalf of the Dignity Party to acknowledge the contribution that the Hon. Mr Kandelaars has made today and also more broadly to this parliament. Gerry and I have not worked together particularly closely. I think we have served together on at least one, maybe two, committees, particularly on the Social Development Committee where I have always found Mr Kandelaars very diligent and passionate and thorough in his work particularly when it comes to matters of social justice—combatting domestic violence, for example. He has a strong record on what the Hon. Mr Wade referred to as rainbow issues or issues regarding LGBTIQ persons in our community.

One of the reasons that I greatly admire Mr Kandelaars’ contribution to those particular matters in terms of the rainbow reforms is that I know that performing that particular duty is more than a job to him because of the nature of his family. While I have not met all of them, I have had the pleasure of meeting Glenys on a number of occasions, and the level of commitment and love that you have for each other has been evident to me even in those brief meetings.

I hope that the strength of that bond and also the strength that Glenys and yourself have showed in surviving this terribly difficult situation so far continues to hold you in good stead. I am sure that I speak for all of us when I say that Adelaide, being what it is, I am sure that we will meet again. I certainly hope so. You know where to find me, and if there is anything I can do to support you and your family as a soon-to-be former colleague and something of a friend, I am more than happy to do so.

Like the Hon. Mr Parnell, when I was listening to Mr Kandelaars speak I did think about the importance of organ donation. Members might know that I, in conjunction with the member for Fisher in the other place, have done a lot of work in recent years promoting organ donation. The member for Fisher, of course, whose son became an organ donor following his death, and me in particular because my former partner’s mother became an organ donor about three years ago, see the importance that donation played, not only in allowing other people to continue their lives with their families and the people they love, but the sense of relief and peace that it brought to our families as well. I would certainly echo and associate myself with the comments of the Hon. Mr Parnell in that regard.

The journey that the Kandelaars family has embarked on and is continuing to make is not an easy one. On behalf of the Dignity Party, I have spoken of the challenges that family carers face in this place, in this state and in this country, and I hope that this is as easy a journey as it can be. I wish you every strength and every best wish as you make this incredibly difficult decision.

I will close with a couple of remarks. Apart from his passion for a number of issues that I share a passion for, one of the things that I have always admired about Gerry—and this might sound like an overly simplistic or a very small thing—but I have always appreciated the fact that it is not uncommon to walk into the Blue Room (the cafeteria) here at Parliament House and see Gerry seated with Toni and some other members of his office or ALP staff having lunch with them.

I have always appreciated that because it really sent a reminder to me that, no matter how busy we are or how hectic our lives are, it is important to take time out and spend quality time showing that we appreciate the people who help us achieve what we need to achieve. I always have lunch with my staff too, but it is usually on a corner of one of their desks as we are hunched over different computers, working on different things. Seeing Gerry take that time out has always meant a great deal to me.

The last thing I wanted to mention was the time at which he is leaving this place. I think he made remarks to the effect that he could no longer give this role the energy and the time it deserves. That is, I think, a really important thing to remember. We are in this place to serve with passion and enthusiasm and energy and if, for some reason, we can no longer deliver that, whether we just run out of passion—although I cannot certainly cannot imagine that happening for many of us, particularly myself—or we have a change in circumstances, it is very difficult but it is the right thing to step down for the cause and allow someone who is able to provide that time and energy to these important causes. It is certainly not an easy decision, but it is one I deeply admire. I wish the Hon. Mr Kandelaars and his family all that can be as good as possible at this difficult time.