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Carmel Tebbutt - Parliamentry Tribute to Trevor Davies

On 21 June 2011 the Member for Marrickville Carmel Tebbutt made the following tribute to Trevor Davies.

TRIBUTE TO TREVOR DAVIES

 

Ms CARMEL TEBBUTT (Marrickville) [6.29 p.m.]: Today I make a private member's statement about the sad passing of a valued member of my community, Trevor Davies. Trevor was a man who lived for those around him, as a passionate advocate for his local community in the Redfern-Waterloo area and a long-time secretary of the Darlington Branch of the Labor Party, as a founder and news editor of the South Sydney Herald, and as an active and generous elder of his church, the South Sydney Uniting Church. Trevor was a friend to many, a true inner-city character, and those who knew him admired his commitment to social justice and his integrity in remaining true to his ideals and values. Trevor passed away following a heart attack on Tuesday 14 June 2011 at the age of 55.

Trevor is a great example of how individuals can make a difference in the lives of those around them. Trevor was a community activist who genuinely put into practice his belief in the importance of compassion and justice for all people in our society. For example, when concerns were raised locally regarding policies and plans for the Redfern-Waterloo area, Trevor made sure the community had a voice. He was one of the founding members of the REDWatch community group, which monitors plans for the local area, makes recommendations and advocates for outcomes that benefit the community. The group remains a strong, progressive presence reviewing projects taking place in Redfern-Waterloo, and its ongoing efforts are a testament to people like Trevor, who care for their community and take action to pursue outcomes that aim to benefit the community as a whole. Trevor's commitment to local debate and engagement was also demonstrated through his very successful Politics in the Pub, which ran for many years. I can remember debating Peter Debnam many years ago at one of Trevor's Politics in the Pub debates. Trevor was always committed to putting both sides of an argument and he had some very interesting speakers.

Trevor could only be described as a passionate man; he did everything with gusto and good intentions. He fought for what he believed in and was involved in many campaigns and protests over the years, whether it was to save housing in The Block at Redfern or to fight against homophobia, racism and poverty more broadly. He was devoted to these causes in the same way that he was devoted to the independence of the media, his politics and his church. Trevor was a strong advocate for greater internal democracy within the Australian Labor Party. Trevor did perhaps some of his best work in his support for and work with the local Aboriginal community in Redfern and Waterloo. He was a strong supporter of the Pemulwuy Project of the Aboriginal Housing Company and it was through Trevor that I first became aware of the fantastic work of The Settlement in Darlington, which provides support for children and young people in the Darlington area.

I will always remember Trevor for his endless energy for campaigning, his quick-talking presence for which political opponents were no match, and as someone who proudly wore his politics pinned to his sleeve. Whenever I met him in the electorate in Darlington I could be certain to find him engaged with people on the street, at a cafe, or at a street stall, always talking, always opinionated, and always looking to the next project or the next article he would write. Trevor's network of contacts and his knowledge about what was happening were legendary. Trevor's monthly column "Have You Heard: The Fast News", always had its focus on issues facing his community and there was often a bit of local or political history thrown in. In his last column he wrote of the battles in local Labor branches in years gone by to save the Erskineville housing estate.

Trevor did not write the stories or get involved with these movements just to have an argument. He did it because he believed that local people with local knowledge have a lot to offer, and that people in positions where decisions are made should always be prepared to listen and respond to what people have to say. The people of Darlington and Redfern will notice the huge gap that has been left by Trevor's passing. I hope that his memory will inspire people to get actively involved in their local community and to stand up for the things they believe in. I am very fortunate to represent an electorate with a proud tradition of activism and of communities coming together to fight for their beliefs. I hope to see that continue in Trevor's memory, and I am sure it will.

Trevor has been described as irreplaceable, a local legend, a grassroots activist, a forthright publisher, an unfailing friend of Labor, a man of strong faith and a caring friend. I remember him as an unswerving supporter and a passionate advocate for the Darlington community in my electorate. I feel privileged to have known Trevor. Our many discussions and debates on issues both local and broad were stimulating and thought provoking. While we did not always agree, Trevor always made me think carefully about my position on issues, see things from another perspective and often revisit my approach. I pass on my sincere condolences and sympathy to all those who are mourning his loss. The communities I represent and indeed New South Wales have been very fortunate to have benefited from the passion, dedication and hard work of Trevor Davies. He will be missed by many.

Source: NSW Legislative Assembly Hansard - www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/prod/parlment/hansart.nsf/V3Key/LA20110621038