Welcome to the State Memorial Service for The Hon. Jane Garrett. My name is Mark
Gepp, I was a Parliamentary colleague and friend of James and I have been very honoured by the family who have invited
me to be the master of
ceremonies for today's event. Today's State Memorial is being held on the lands of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin
Nation and I wish to acknowledge them as Traditional Owners. I would also like to pay my respects
to their Elders past, present, and emerging and any Aboriginal Elders who might be here today. Can I also
acknowledge, most importantly, Janes children Molly, Sasha, and Max. James of course,
Janes father Graham, her sister Katherine, and the extended Higgins and Garrett families. I would oscillate to
acknowledge Colonel Mark Richards representing the governor general. Mark Dreyfus, the Attorney General,
representing a prime minister. Her Excellency The Hon. Governor of Victoria and Mr Anthony Howard. The Hon.
Daniel Andrews, Premier of Victoria. The Hon. Matthew
Guy, leader of the opposition. Federal and Cabinet ministers,
the president of the legislative Council, the
Honourable Marie Edwards, Speaker of the legislative assembly, former premiers, the honourable John Brumby and Doctor Rosemary McKenzie. The Hon. Steve Bracks and Terry
Bracks. The Hon. Jeff Kennett. Current and former members of
Parliament and of course friends and colleagues of Jane. To begin, can I ask you if you are able to, please be
upstanding for the singing of the Australian national anthem, to be performed by
Nina Ferro. # Australians all let us rejoice
# For we are young and free
# We've golden soil and wealth for toil
# Our home is girt by sea
# Our land abounds in nature's gifts # Of beauty, rich and rare
# In history's page let every stage # Advance Australia fair
# In joyful strains then let us sing
# Advance Australia Fair
>> Thank you Nina for that lovely rendition of the national anthem. Friends, we
gather here today to celebrate the life of one of Victoria's most respected daughters, Jane
Garrett, and it is fitting that we do so at the Brunswick Town Hall in a neighbourhood
that has proudly been the stomping ground of the Garrett family for many years. Jane was born on 16 March 1973 and
she died after a long battle with breast cancer at the ridiculously young age of 49 on 2 July, 2022. Pairs was a
deeply private battle which made her loss more shocking
and devastating to all of us. But it is not the dates of her life and death that are important today. Is the poet
Lynda Ellis said, it's the in between that matters. She said " for that represents all the
time they spent alive on Earth and now only those who love them know what that little line is worth. What matters is
how we have lived and loved and how we spent our. " Jane's
family held a private funeral for her in July and the Victorian Parliament formally paid its respects to Jane last
month. Today is an opportunity for so many others whose lives she touched to express your
own grief and sadness but also to celebrate the magnificent legacy that Jane leaves behind. And are far too short,
but remarkable life that she lived. I know that if she was
here today, in that very high- pitched, infectious twang of hers, she be saying "Mate, just focus on the ." and today
we will focus on the force of nature that was Jane Garrett
and Jane, my dear friend, it will be all about that dash, it will be about your dash.
The early years. Mention Jane's name to anybody and
immediately some common themes emerge. Her exceptional intellect, her strength, courage, integrity, and the
values of fairness and equality that guided her in life. Where did it all come from? It will surprise no one
that Jane excelled
academically at school. School was a happy place for Jane, she saw it as an opportunity to learn and I am reliably
informed by the family, she didn't mind the social aspects of school either. Jane had
academic -- met every academic task given to her in school with gusto and she was excited
to continue her education Jenny at Australian National University where she studied arts and law. She rounded out
her time at Bradford and a new by participating in drama and debating, to skills that I am
sure you will agree came in handy later in life. She
didn't stay away from student politics nor could she resist by making a contribution to
the student newspaper. I can't unfortunately mention any of the social aspects of Jane's life at uni, but I can say that we did hear some at her
private funeral a couple of months ago and if you happen to bump into her girlfriend
Katherine from those days, she's got some very good stories to tell. I really don't know where Jane found the time to be frank. Jane is
a sense of fairness and equality was also developing during these years and it was commonplace for her mother, a
public icicle teacher and social activist, and her father, a Baptist minister and
theologian, to engage in lively discussions at the
kitchen table and all manner of serious social issues.
Nothing was off limits including nuclear disarmament, world peace, unions in the workplace, equality for women and funding for public education just to name a few.
It was commonplace in the Garrett household to have an array of guests engaging enthusiastically about these big issues and Jane's parents encouraged her involvement in
those discussions from an early age. This involved an
offer extended to her participation in public demonstrations and I'm sure that many of us are here today
walked arm in arm with Jane down many streets of Melbourne. I referred to in my
opening to Jane as a force of nature and I want to underline that. Considering what Jane achieved after finishing
university at the end of 1986, between the years of 1997 and 2010, 1997, she became an
associate to Justin Alan Boulton of the AIRC. In 1998
in a law firm. In 1999 she was an employee with the transport workers Union. In 2000 to 2004
she was the senior adviser to Premier Steve Bracks, coming out of the Attorney General's office. In 2004 to 2010, she
was the industrial and
discrimination affairs lawyer for Slater and Gordon. In 2008 she was elected to the Yarra Council. In 2010 she was elected Mayor of Yarra Council. In 2010 she was also
preselected for the state seat of Brunswick which she won. If
that wasn't enough, if that wasn't enough during that timeframe, she also found time to marry James and also bring Molly and Sasha into the
world. I feel tired just
thinking about it. Somebody who knew her very well from
those years and was so impressed by her, he brought her into his private office, when he won office at the end
of 1999, would you please welcome former Premier, The Hon. Steve Bracks to the stage
to share his tribute to Jane Garrett. Premier Bracks.
>> Thanks very much Mark. Could I also acknowledge the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation whose land we are gathered on. Representatives
of the Governor general and Prime Minister. The governor of Victoria. The Premier The
Hon. Daniel Andrews. Ministers of the Federal Parliament and
State Parliament, former premiers of Victoria and their partners, many friends of Jane
here this morning and most importantly, Jane's family Molly, Sasha, Max, and James.
Her father Graham, Sister Katherine, and the extended Gareth and Higgins family -- Garrett and Higgins family. I want to acknowledge your pain and heartbreak at the losing
of Jane. Jane knew how to live
in. She knew every moment mattered. Will be for her breast cancer diagnosis, she knew life is precious and
precarious. Jane knew the secret of a good life. Jane
knew the secret to meaningful profound life is to grasp
every opportunity to make the world a better place. Jane made that her life's goal. Her parents helped forge that
goal. Her mother Pam, lost to the scheduled cancer in 2009,
was a passionate English teacher who worked in public
education. Her father Graham is a retired theologian. In her first parliamentary
speech, Jane described In her first parliamentary
speech Jane described where her parents held social justice meetings every fortnight, and were regulars on the circuit.
She lived a life true to the values her parents cultivated in their vibrant, inner city home.
I met Jane 22 years ago in my first year as Premier of Victoria back in the year 2000.
I recall Tim Palace who was then my Chief of Staff telling
me he had a problem, Rob hulls the then attorney general was on the war path, and him on the
war path was not unusual, but Tim's concern about it was that Tim explained he had offered a brilliant light -- young lawyer and job in my
office, so I said, "What is the
problem?" He is furious, Tim said, he said that she is the smartest and most politically savvy Labor lawyer he has come
across and he needs her in his office Jane joined my office. Not sure if Rob has forgiven m, no he has not forgiven Tim.
Jane took on responsibility for the justice portfolio, we were a first-term minority government.
Jane thrived in that pressure cooker environment. She soon proved her legal skills paled in comparison to
her political skills. She could talk to anyone with a confidence and authority that belied her age.
I saw Jane go head-to-head with department secretaries, union officials and ministers. Always with respect and always
Jane worked with me to restore the powers and independence of the most important democratic offices in the state, the DPP
and the auditor general. Jane helped us get extra police on the streets, build new police stations, and ensure our
police force was equipped with state-of-the-art safety equipment. Jane was therefore our
landslide victory in 2002, I had to leave the party early to prepare for day one of term tw, I am reliably informed that
Jane was the last to leave the dancefloor that night.
In our second term, Jane helped deliver 64 year terms for the Victorian Parliament and
increase in funds for legal ai, and measures to modernise the court and ensure judicial
sentencing discretion and independent. While working in my office Jane met James, which led to a
greatest joy, their three beautiful children, Molly, Sasha and Max.
You don't need to tell... You don't need me to tell you your mum is amazing. A brilliant mind, and settled,
compassionate, courageous and
she had the best sense of humour and best laugh. I could often hear James laugh in my office way down the corridor.
I was not surprised when he left my office in 2004 to pursue a legal career, nor was I surprised when she was
elected to the Victorian Parliament as the Member for Brunswick. There was a certain inevitability to her political
progression from adviser to backbencher to Parliamentary Secretary to minister. She lived and breathed politic. The last few years were
incredibly difficult to Jane and everyone who loved her, her cancer diagnosis and the cruel
return were heartbreaking.
Jane, determined to carry on, to keep making every minute matter. She lived with conviction and
passion. She lives on in the social justice reform she helped deliver for Victoria, and most importantly she lives on in Molly, Sasha and Max.
Jane Garrett lived a meaningfu, profound wife.
She left this life way too early, but she left knowing that she made the world a
better place. (Applause)
>> Thank you, Steve, for that beautiful tribute to Jane.
Well, as Premier Bracks has touched on it was pretty
evident early on that the Labor party had a prodigious political talent on their hand,
in fact it was recently talking to the member for Richmond, and
former government minister, Richard Wynn, about her abilities and to paraphrase that conversation and to clean
it up a little bit, he said, "It is why we just had to get her into Spring Street and we had to do so before those fads
realised how good she was. " And she was good.
She was so good that in 2012 despite all of the things we talked about previously, her
retreatment and now being in Parliament she took time to have Max in 2012. And shortly thereafter was
appointed by the then opposition leader, soon to become Premier, Dan Andrews, to
the shadow. Wendy Andrews Labor government
was formed in 2014 the Premier wasted no time promoting her into the cabin as Minister for Emergency Services, Minster for consumer affairs gaming and
liquor regulation, she was also the Parliamentary Secretary for Jobs, working closely with her dear friend, Minister Jala
Fulford and it is great to see so many of her former ministerial staff here today, and to share her thoughts and
her tribute to Jane is her dear friend from those days in the Victorian Parliament, the
former member for Wendy Ray, Sharon Knight. --
>> Being friends with Jane was
really something, if you were lucky enough to be loved by Jane then you are very lucky indeed.
Jane had this way of getting you to do things, and later you
would Inc how did she do that? -- think she also valued your opinion. I wish I had a dollar for every
time I heard Jose, " What do
you think?" I first met Jane the day after the 2010 election at wait for it, a faction
We had both won her seat, she Brunswick, mi Ballarat West, and she was standing on the street phone in hand, we
introduced ourselves and that was it. We hit our limit with other newcomers, Bronwyn, Lee,
Natalie, Anthony, and the absolutely fabulous Marie Edwards.
The class of 2010.
Jane and Marie and I shared an office for a while, a lot of the time we did not know where Jane was. I would say to Marie, "Have you
seen Jane today?" And she would say no, and she would be off giving one of her, amazing
contributions in Parliament or having coffee with someone.
Or she would be walking to the office and bump into someone I get distracted by that. Or she would be on her phone, the phone would ring and she
would go or she would be meeting with a constituent or stakeholder or any number of things. Her days were always full.
Eventually at the end of the day she would burst into the office, we would hear her
before we saw her, and say, "S,
how are you?" And they that it must be time for a drink, what do you think? And off we would go.
Marie, in her beautiful condolence contribution spoke
about how Marie and I would change lyrics to songs and perform them for colleagues who I'm sure were really thrilled by that.
Particularly the Premier, I know you could not wait for us to do one of our renditions.
For my 50th birthday Marie wrote a song and roped in Anthony, and Jane to be the
backup singers stop during the rehearsal Marie realised just how bad a singer Jane really
was, not that Jane thought so.
Anyway, on the night it is fair to say that what Jane lacked in carrying a tune she more than made up for in enthusiasm.
And no, no microphone required.
Jane being the great friend that she is took it upon herself to end my single life. And like everything she tackled she approached that task with
gusto. Look, there were a few disasters initially, before she
absolutely nailed it and
introduced me to Mark O'Brien. It was the best idea Jane had ever had. Jane of course was the best
woman at our wedding, and she grasped that role with both hands.
Along with a lot of our wedding
guests. She grabbed them and was sayin, "Isn't this great!" And they had to agree with her, whether they did or not.
I will never forget the absolute joy on her face on
that day and once again she was the life of the party. Then there were four.
Mark and I and James and Jane, so many wonderful memories. Of New Year's Eve is, bad
singing, quite a bit of drinking. Dinners, holidays, so much
laughter, so many words spoken, so many memories to cherish. From the moment that Mark and I
became an item, we talked to Jane every day at least once a day, at least once a day.
If she called the marquee did not ever need to put it on speakerphone, I could hear every word she said clearly.
She was always so interested in our kids, what they were doing,
how they were going, who they were seeing. And had an opinion on all of those things.
And Mark and I just love Molly, Sasha and Max and we love
hearing about your goals and dreams and yes, even the naughty things that you did.
I won't tell, I probably will. Our working lives changed about
our friendship remained. We always stood by each other
and supported each other through some very trying times. Both professionally and personally.
Jane always stayed upright, even when she wanted to fall.
She always stayed fearsome, even when she was consumed by fear.
And she always, always stayed the best, funniest, loudest,
strongest, feisty, and loyal friend you could ever have.
Jane and I disagreed on one thing, she believed there was
something, there was someplace that we go to when we leave this earth. I don't.
But on this occasion and only this occasion I really hope that she is right and I'm wron.
Because I would give anything to see her again and hear her
say as she showed me around, Shaz,
what do you think? Thank you. (Applause)
>> Thank you, Sharon, for that beautiful and heartfelt tribut.
We have now got a very special treat, we have heard all about
James love of music, just make Jane, and I can attest to that
and her bad singing. We are now going to hear from a
very dear friend of Jane's, Mr Tim Rogers, Tim first met James
sister Katherine at Law School in Canberra where they became best friends which is how her
and Tim first met as a year six student, I think she was 14, Tim was tellingly, before the start of the event. --
telling me. Tim for -- forged a strong connection to
the Garrett family and in particular Jane. Please welcome Tim.
(Applause) >> Thank you, yes.
I met Jane when I guess she would have been 14 when Kathryn and I were being wrapped bags at ANU.
Thank you for not telling us out of the house, but even at 14 meeting Jane behind that
million megawatt smile, I had an inkling that she was someone to be watched further, to be respected and never to be
I have been watching so much TV #
I'm thinner than I should be # unlike what no one wants to
kick around any more # I have gotten all day morning
hairdo that no comb can get through #
it is (inaudible) Silke Matt souvenir #
I miss you like sleep, there is nothing amounting about the hours I keep and it is the
mornings when it starts, just don't dress so sharp #
now I have got a heavy heart # I talk a lot about football And girls I kissed in grade four I piss off my friends I'm digging a hole just staring at the floor
#Now every t-shirt's got a wine stain I'm loving cigarettes again I know every tune about guys and girls And hurts and hearts and moans
#I miss you like sleep And there's nothing romantic about the hours I keep The morning's when it starts I don't look so good
#Now I've got a heavy heart # It's just a low rent paying, palpitating pulp inside my shirt But there's a weight that's sitting So hard oh God it hurts Oh God it hurts
# Been watching so much TV
# I'm thinner than I should be
# I'm like a waterlogged ball That no-one wants to kick around anymore
# I miss you like sleep And there's nothing romantic about the hours I keep
# The morning when it starts # Oh my heavy heart
>> Thank you Tim, that was beautiful. Jane was many
things, as we have heard today. She was very much a
proud trade unionists. She believed deeply in the
collective, mentoring many young women in particular through the union movement. She and James were well-known
to all players in the union movement for a very long
period of time and Jane loved nothing more than a union march and spending time with her fellow trade unionists.
And of course she came from a long lineage of trip -- working people. And understood
that work is acting collectively were far more powerful than any one person. Jane has many friends in the
union movement and one of those friends, former state secretary for the RTV you -- RTVU, Luba Grigorovitch, joins
us to share a tribute to Jane. After Luba's contribution, we
will have a photomontage that
will be accompanied by a musical tribute. Please welcome Luba Grigorovitch. (Applause)
>> Thank you Mark. I begin today by acknowledging the
Wurundjeri Boon Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation, the
traditional custodians of the land on which we gather today and I pay my respects to the Elders past and present and extend that respect to
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people here today. I
would like to thank Jane's family, James, Max, Molly, Sasha, Graham, and of course Katherine, for asking me to
share a few words today about Jane. Jane Garrett was my friend. And it's obvious to me
looking at so many people in this room, that room, and the other room, that many of us
shared that privilege. We were
all touched by her special brand, the star power, and bighearted love. I knew Jane
well before she knew who I was. Through sheer luck, I was
assigned in the 2010 state election campaign to volunteer in the marginal seat of Brunswick, the electorate
which we are in today. Jane's reputation preceded her.
Irrespective of who I met, whether it was the sisters of
Emily's list, the local ILP branch members, anyone, they all told me the same thing. " you will love Jane, she is young, she is smart as a whip,
she's energetic, hard worker, full of life and a lot of fun ." and I have to say that she was. Her campaign office was
always buzzing. She would welcome you -- new and old
volunteers like there were long lost friends. The fridge was always full, amount of
snacks to feed the hordes of people who helped to flop to get Jane elected. Day one of
stepping into the campaign office, Jane had this ability to instantly make you feel as
though you were part of the family. But it was obvious
that Jane was not your typical candidate. Jane was a rock star. And incredibly
energetic, super campaigner, Labor's secret weapon in Brunswick which was a seat becoming more and more difficult to hold. Jane loved
bringing people together and encouraging friendships to blossom. She was incredibly
inclusive and generous. She wanted people to have fun. And she always saw the best in people. And I was a little starstruck. Though Jane never
acted like a rock star. She wasn't aloof, or elitist, and
she certainly was never hard to reach. She was so
approachable. And reached out to her young volunteers like a mother bird. Encouraging them all. There are many young
women in this room who have been nurtured by J ane. I was
very lucky to have been one of them. She took me under her
wing but she also encouraged me to fly on my own too. Jane
change the course of my life by so generously giving me her
time and her wisdom. She
supported my development in the trade union movement and gave me the courage to leave when others thought I was too young. -- lead when others
thought I was too young. She
introduced me to respected leaders of unions from around the country. Jane believed deeply in the trade union movement. In all things, Jane
set high standards. Jane worked very hard to get into
Parliament and just as hard to get into the ministry and she loved it. She loves making the big decisions, she loved applying her smarts, her skills and capacities for quick study to the high-volume
and fast pace life of being a minister. She loves being in cabinet and exchanges over big
issues and big problems of the 3D chessboard that is governing. Jane impressed so
many of us each time she stood strong for her values and for her beliefs. Each time that
she put women, and gender equality first, or championed worker health and safety, or the right of the mighty trade unions to campaign and to be heard. The political world of
the Australian Labor Party and politics in general, it's not for the fainthearted. Jane
played tough, but there was vulnerability and there was gentleness in her politics too. And she always knew how
to have a good laugh about it. My relationship with Jane over
the years grew. She transformed from a political
mentor, loyal comrade, to a trusted and beloved mate. Jane
was someone I could always get a straight answer from. No bull. I will also miss the
honest, straight talking, because with Jane, what you saw was what you got and that can be so rare in political
life. But the truth is, Jane was so much more than a political animal. She did love politics, but it did not
define her. The things that
truly defined her, they were much simpler. When I was
thinking about it, I did realise that some could say Jane was a glutton for punishment. To start with, she
was a one eyed Carlton supporter and that really gave her much enjoyment at all. She
was a tragic to Elton John,
and she recently, and I'm going to tell this secret, Molly, she could recite all of the latest Taylor Swift songs, a talent which was self-taught so she could bond with her
girls as they sang on the drive to school each day. Jane loved making people happy. She was fun, charismatic, she
could literally speak to anybody anywhere. She was the life of the party and people would meet her for the first
time in instantly feel a connection with her. Jane's love for humanity and for
others was infectious. Sharon did allude to the fact that we all knew Jane love the champagne. But the truth is no
one was as bubbly or a sparkling as Jane, especially when she was knee deep in
storytelling. In those moments, she was incredibly engaging. But she was also
sweet and sensitive, to the plate and pain of others, to the injustice and the slights of public life. Jane was
beautiful. Inside and out. But
the only beauty that really matters at the end of the day is the beauty within. Jane
radiated goodness, kindness, optimism, and compassion. When
I think of Jane, and I had this thought as we drove past today, I see her as a runner
doing laps of Princes Park. She loved to run, she loved
the freedom of it. The chance to clear her mind, the chance
to get in the zone. A true multitasker, she would return multiple phone calls while jogging. And I have to say at
times this drove me just a little bit mad as I wanted her to focus on the conversation at hand, though in fairness, she was only a little bit breathless during our phone
calls. Of all things that
defined Jane, it was her relationships. She took her role as a mother, wife, as a
sister, daughter, and a friend seriously. It was her most
important work, something that she had in common with her
good friend, the late Fiona Richardson. Through the rough-
and-tumble of public political life, the Jane that I saw with
my own eyes, not through the newspaper headlines, the core flutes, was a woman for whom
being a mother was everything. I know that her kids, her and James as kids, mattered above
all else. Their beautiful brilliant babies Molly, Sasha,
and Maxi. I want to offer the three of you some comfort.
Beyond hugs and tears. And I think that the best way of doing that is to ask you to look around this beautiful
room and see all the people that are here today. They were
impressed and they loved your mother. She was held an incredibly high regard and affection by community that
recognised integrity and courage when they saw it. Your
mother's integrity, courage, and love will always be with three of you. Molly, Sasha,
and Max, I want you all to know that we will always be here for you in anyway that we possibly can. I know that you
were each their supporting your mother every step of her
journey and we thank you for that. When Jane's health
issues became more serious, she chose to keep it private.
She wanted it that way. When word got out of Jane's
passing, I was literally inundated with phone calls from people in our Labor
family, both the political and the industrial wing. Who Jane had encouraged, helped, and
touched along the way.
Plants and politics can be hard and cruel, but at other times
there is compassion and care, there is belonging antiunion in our shared beliefs, the struggles of everyday life and it is clear that that is here with us today.
To James family, you should be and they know that you are incredibly proud of Jane.
As the premier of the courier,
Dan Andrews said in his condolence motion passed a few weeks ago in Parliament, Jane
was born, raised and inspired to create change in our world and that is exactly what she did.
She valued opportunity and equality, she believed so strongly in lifting up those without power and speaking up
for those without a voice. Graham, you and Pam raised your
girls Jane and Katherine this way, thank you.
To my political colleagues who have lost a true friend and mighty, add, -- $$TRANSMIT,
celebrate the emotions that you recently read, and across all
sides of the house your words were beautiful.
Your speeches left me in tears. You captured the essence of Jane, her wild, crazy ways,
genuine soul, hyper- intelligent, she wore her heart on her sleeve.
For those of you in this room who have not read those tributes, I urge you to do so but be sure to have a tissue.
And to Jane, thank you. For the love that you had for
all of us, the love that you had for your community, your
love for the Labor movement, for all humanity, and of course the eternal love that you have for Molly, and for Sasha and
for Max. We love you, Jane. Thank you. (Applause)
('Leaps and Bounds' by Paul Kelly plays)
# I'm high on the hill # Looking over the bridge # To the MCG
# And way up on high # The clock on the silo # Says eleven degrees
# I remember # I'm breathing today # The month of May
# I remember
# I go leaps and bounds
# Down past the river # And across the playing fields
# The fields all empty # Only for the burning leaves
# I remember
# I go leaps and bounds
# I'm high on the hill # Looking over the bridge # To the MCG
# Stumbling around # My feet don't even # Touch the ground
# I remember
# I go leaps and bounds
# I remember
# I remember everything
>> I think we would all agree she was made for the camera. Ladies and gentlemen, that concludes our service today.
Can I on behalf of the Garrett family, the Victorian state
government, and everybody who
love to Jane thank you, I said I would not do this. Thank you for coming along today.
The Garrett family will be staying behind so they can say
thank you to as many people as they possibly can before you leave.
Thank you so much for your attendance, please before we g,
a round of applause particularly for Sasha, Molly, Max, and James. (Applause)
>> Thank you.