Vale Jayson Hinder
1 June, 2017
At the end of April, Canberra lost one of its great community activists, and briefly a parliamentarian in the ACT Legislative Assembly, Jayson Hinder. Jayson was a true son of Canberra. His family were the second to live in the Woden Valley, the first being Doug Anthony and his family. He had a tough childhood. When his father died in the 1970s, the family lost their home. But, as he grew up, he came to be a man who gave a great deal back to the community.
At his funeral service, many of his mates recalled his willingness to help out with fixing things. He was always there offering a hand and he loved his machines. He loved his cars and he loved his bikes. He loved fixing his own and he loved fixing the cars and bikes of friends. One friend of Jayson's described him as 'Toad of Toad Hall' for his love of feeling the wind in his hair. When he was profiled by Fairfax in 2015, Jayson owned a Ducati Monster, two BMWs, a 1973 Honda and a Renault Alpine.
He played vets rugby, including in the Argentinian tour. I have to say, being a middle-aged rugby player is a considerably tougher enterprise than being a middle-aged runner. He was acknowledged in the recent bulletin of the Australian Parliament Sports Club, which stated:
He played a significant role in assisting the team to become Parliamentary Rugby World Cup winners in 2015 with an outstanding performance against a Rest of the World XV comprising Argentinian, NZ and South African parliamentarians and will be sadly missed by the club and his teammates.
The member for Moreton, Graham Perrett, who toured New Zealand with Jayson, remembered him as a hard-hitting, hard-tackling, free-running forward. He said: 'Jayson was fearless and hardworking. As a fellow forward, you knew he was an honest player who always had your back. It was an honour to pack down with him.' I know the member for Wright feels much the same.
Jayson was generous to me and my parliamentary campaigns in the ACT, and I tried to return the favour in his campaigns. He entered the Assembly in early 2016, only to be unsuccessful, despite a valiant re-election effort at the end of 2016. I was looking through and saw the last photograph that I have with him, in which my three boys met up with him at Gungahlin Marketplace. The photo tells the story. There are no voters around. We are just sitting there having great fun, with Jayson entertaining my three boys, who all have great beaming smiles on their faces. That is how I will always remember Jayson—as somebody who took social justice seriously, who, through his role in Bendigo Bank, wanted to help people, but who recognised that life is there to be lived. Andrew Barr, Chief Minister of the ACT, spoke about him as a man who had 'wheels on the road and wind in his hair'.
Last month the 200 motorbike riders doing their annual blanket run for the 36th time observed a minute's silence in honour of Jayson Hinder, with Vice President Mike Kelly saying he was always a big supporter. He was valued in the legal community as well, with President of the ACT Law Society, Sarah Avery, referring to Jayson as a 'valued member of the community and the legal profession'.
To die at 51 is to die too young, and I acknowledge Jayson's wife, Lisa, and their three children. The loss that they feel now must be unimaginable. We are, as a community—a Labor community, a Canberra community, a sporting community, a community who wants to see our city be an even stronger, more civically engaged city—left poorer with Jayson's passing. He reminded us of the purpose of life: to smile, to help others, to recognise that your time on the planet is short and that, if you use it for yourself, you miss out on the opportunity to do great things. Jayson did great things while he was here for Canberra and for so many of us. He will be sorely missed.