Shane Madden - Speech, House of Representatives


Shane Madden was one of Canberra's finest lawyers. He was part of the senior leadership team when the ACT Department of Public Prosecutions was formed under Ken Crispin in 1991. ACT Bar Association President Steve Whybrow said:

Shane was a fine trial advocate whose dark emerald robes and pinstripe pants were a defining sartorial feature.

He served as a magistrate from 1996 until 2009. He was the coroner who conducted the 118-day inquest into the tragic death of schoolgirl Katie Bender, who was killed in 1997 by the implosion of the Royal Canberra Hospital. It has been commented that his conduct throughout the trial demonstrated his humanity and decency. He was the ACT's first Children's Court Magistrate, serving from 1999 with compassion and care.

I came to know Shane Madden through my friend David Madden, his son. Shane always struck me as gentle and generous, and never shy about coming forward with his views about politics in Canberra as a long-time resident of the north side. In giving the eulogy for his father at the Sacred Heart parish in Moruya on Saturday, David spoke about Shane's commitment to service, saying, 'Service was at the heart of Dad's life.'

Shane Madden was a life member of the ACT Brumbies. He was an ACT rugby referee in more than 300 games. He helped out at Sacred Heart church Moruya, the Broulee surf club and Vinnies; by reading to kids at Broulee primary school; and through the Dolphins Rugby Union Club. David said: 'I can remember as a child wandering into the kitchen late on Sunday nights before Dad had a trial and seeing him once again poring over evidence, double- and triple-checking his notes, making sure he did the best job he possibly could. Dad brought that commitment to everything he did, whether it was hearing a big case; giving a speech at the Rotary Club of Moruya; or caring for his sister, who struggled with mental illness her whole life. Dad did things properly.' David said one of his favourite photos of his dad was taken at Bondi Beach, by the mural representing the struggle for Indigenous rights, where Shane explained to his grandson Alexander about Vincent Lingiari, Faith Bandler and Eddie Mabo—what these champions of justice fought for and why it matters.

Those in Canberra were lucky to have benefited from Shane's service. My heart goes out to his widow, Katie, his wife of 47 years; to his children, David, Peter and Philip; to his children-in-law, Andrea, Nicole and Amy; and to his grandchildren, Kahlea, Isabelle, Jacinta, Raphael, Jessica, Elianna, Stephanie, Alexander, William and Georgina.


Authorised by Noah Carroll, ALP, Canberra.

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Cnr Gungahlin Pl and Efkarpidis Street, Gungahlin ACT 2912 | 02 6247 4396 | [email protected] | Authorised by A. Leigh MP, Australian Labor Party (ACT Branch), Canberra.