Shayne Neumann MP
Federal Member for Blair

Australian Labor
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On the passing of Mr Raymond Nevin and Ms Desiree Mahoney

04/02/2016

Today I rise to speak on the recent passing of two English-born Australians who touched the lives of many in the electorate of Blair.

Mr Raymond Nevin

Raymond Nevin was born in London in 1945, a month after the end of the Second World War.

While a boy, he and his family left England for Australia in search of a better life.

He was the eldest of six: three children born in the UK and the last three in Australia. Imagine the rivalries they had between Australia and the UK in sporting fixtures!

Ray left school at the age of 12. He worked as a typesetter at the Gold Coast Bulletin. Later he became a motor mechanic and for a time operated the only RACQ tilt tray truck in Ipswich.

He married Carol in 1973.

In later years they were always inseparable and volunteered their time at my many mobile offices around the electorate of Blair.

At the Ipswich Show, the pair would depart my booth laden with red Shayne Neumann information bags, and they would distribute these throughout the crowd.

Ray got to know many, many people.

Indeed, he developed friendships with people such as a Canadian woodchopper, and that friendship continued by email.

Though they were keen to volunteer, they did not actually join the Labor Party until fairly recently.

They were concerned that in their orange high-visibility Shayne Neumann vests and red Labor T-shirts they would be mistaken for road workers, so we made a special uniform for them.

Sadly, Ray passed away in early January this year before I was able to present him with his uniform. He would have been tickled pink when he saw it, I can assure you.

I finally got them to join the Raceview Flinders branch of the Labor Party, and when Carol told me about Ray's death she asked, 'When's the next Labor Party branch meeting?'

Many people in the branch knew them, so they were warmly welcomed.

Ray was, as I said, the husband of Carol. He was the loving father of Tabitha and Bernadette and grandfather to Cassandra, Nicholas and Hannah.

He will be missed. Rest in peace, Ray.

Ms Desiree Mahoney

Desiree Mahoney was a committed environmentalist who lived outside Esk in the Somerset Valley.

She passed away at the end of December 2015.

She was born in the UK in 1956 and she migrated to Australia.

Her active political life began in 1990 as spokesperson for Communities Against Radioactive Dumps, a group that successfully opposed construction of a radioactive facility in Esk.

There was nothing that would stop her.

She became an active member of the Greens and ran as their candidate in many state and federal elections. In fact, I knew her very well, because I was the Labor Party's campaign director in Ipswich, and we always had courteous and constructive relationships.

For 20 years she was the coordinator of the Brisbane Valley Multicultural Association.

From 1998 to 2012, she was the coordinator of the very successful Brisbane Valley Multicultural Festival.

To the delight of many in the Labor Party, she joined the Labor Party, leaving her Greens credentials behind, and there were many Labor Party branch members there at her funeral.

She was intrigued by ancient and medieval history, and her farewell ceremony at the Somerset Civic Centre began with a pagan ritual and was swathed in purple.

It was unlike any funeral I had ever been to.

Vale, Desiree. You will be missed. No-one will ever forget you.