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Tanya Plibersek on Trevor Davies

The statement below was made by the Federal MP for Sydney Tanya Plibersek in the Parliament of Australia House of Representatives on 16 June 2011 about Trevor Davies following his death on 14th June 2011.

Davies, Mr Trevor


Ms PLIBERSEK (Sydney—Minister for Social Inclusion and Minister for Human Services) (09:44):

I rise today for a very sad reason. We have lost two great local identities in my electorate in recent times. My colleague Andrew Leigh spoke about the Newtown bookseller Bob Gould in the main chamber.

Today I want to speak about Trevor Davies, a local identity in the Redfern and Darlington area for many years, who died very suddenly and unexpectedly over the weekend from a heart condition that had troubled him all his life.

Trevor was born in Wales. He lived for the last 30 years in the Redfern area in public or community social housing. He was just the most dynamic man. He was prevented from working. He had dyslexia, sleep apnoea and a congenital heart defect—a hole in the heart and a faulty heart valve, which were the things that caused him to lose his life. He had hip and knee problems, but he walked everywhere. With all of those things stacked against him, he still managed to run a very successful Politics in the Pub for many years. He ran a terrific debate between Fred Nile and the Prostitutes Collective about the legalisation of prostitution, for example.

He also started a small community newspaper—a newsletter, really—for ALP branch members, that became the South Sydney Herald which now publishes 16,000 copies each month and has about 400 hours of volunteer work involved in it. It is a terrific newspaper because it talks about the strengths of the local community and tells the stories of the local people, and people feel a very strong sense of ownership of the paper. The people who volunteer to work on the paper or to hand it out get a terrific experience if they are journalism students, and a real sense of connection and belonging if they are community members. Trevor's friend the Reverend Dorothy McRae- McMahon talked a lot about how people get this sense of ownership of the paper and come to the paper and ask, 'Could we have this story in our paper?'

With his connection to the local community, strong friendships in the area and strong friendship with the Aboriginal community of Redfern, many of whom called him brother, Trevor will be sorely missed. He was a social innovator. He was a good Labor man, but he would work with anyone to improve the conditions of the people who lived in his community. He was a dedicated social activist to the end and he will be much missed.

Source: House of Representatives Hansard 16 June 2011 page 66