Appropriation Bill (No. 1) 2023-2024
House of Representatives, 31 May 2023
I want to acknowledge Rob Eakin, an extraordinary Australian who passed away earlier this month. Rob died the day after the budget, which is significant because he was an extraordinary Labor stalwart. Rob and his wife Robin were two of the people who were among my earliest supporters when I first got into politics. I always felt that whatever I did, they would have my back. They were the best of volunteers: hardworking, altruistic, generous and funny. They were a real delight to be around, and every conversation with Rob and Robin left me feeling better about the world.
Rob was kind towards others, but always willing to show others how to do things a little better. His techniques of ensuring that our roadside signs stayed on their stakes are second to none! We knew that if Rob put a roadside sign up, then the only way it was going to come down was if some naughty conservative was to drive over the top of it. Sadly, that happened to not a small number of Rob's signs. They hit the ground not because of any deficit in Rob's hard work, but because of shenanigans.
But Rob taught us so much more. He was there at volunteer barbecues; he was there at budget reply drinks. As his daughter Jane wrote to me:
dad … was a man who had a generous spirit. He would share the bounty from his garden with anyone.
He was happy to support people and let them achieve greatness, without ego.
He turned his skills to repairing musical instruments, and did it with love—for the joy it brought others, not for profit.
And he knew the value of listening. Hearing people out and adding his view with quiet humour.
Jane reminded me and the other elected members who were at Rob's memorial service—Tara Cheyne, Alicia Payne, former MLA Gordon Ramsay—that to be a part of the Labor Party is to be a part of a movement—a movement that is enriched by our extraordinary volunteers. We are a party that has been inspired and bettered by Rob Eakin. My condolences to his widow, Robin, and to his children. May he rest in peace.