‘A life filled with love’: Julia Gillard joins PM and Labor icons to remember Peta Murphy

Peta Murphy with PM Anthony Albanese not long before her death.

Peta Murphy with PM Anthony Albanese not long before her death. Photo: AAP

Labor MP Peta Murphy has been remembered as inspiring and filled with love as she was farewelled in a touching service at the MCG.

Ms Murphy, who represented the Victorian seat of Dunkley, died on December 4, aged 50 after a long battle with cancer.

A funeral for the squash champion and former softball national league player was held at the Melbourne sporting ground’s Olympic Room on Friday afternoon.

First elected in 2019, Ms Murphy’s breast cancer returned just two weeks before she was sworn in to parliament.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese described her as a person who believed in the battle of ideas, and the battle of ideals.

“It is so hard, so cruel, so unfair to think that we’ll never see her bright and shining smile again,” Mr Albanese said.

He said a profound part of the grief being felt was “not just that we have been deprived of someone we deeply loved, it is that Australia has been denied more of what Peta had to give”.

“We will keep the glow of Peta Murphy in our hearts,” he said. “We will hold her inspiration and example in our minds.

“She will be a cherished member of our family, forever.”

Dedication and intellect

Former prime minister Julia Gillard and cabinet ministers including Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles and Treasurer Jim Chalmers attended the remembrance service.

Friends and family paid tribute to Ms Murphy’s dedication and intellect, which she brought to her career as a barrister and parliamentarian, and her advocacy, which she brought to her fight with cancer.

Her sister Penni Murphy described the late MP as a “superhero aunt” to her nieces.

Husband Rod Glover sobbed as he spoke, saying his wife left the world the way she had lived, with “dignity, courage, and sarcasm”.

“I’ve been so lucky to share most of my adult life with the love of my life,” he said.

Jodi Murphy said she would be “forever proud” of her sister, who had led a “fantastic” life dedicated to helping the forgotten, the underprivileged and the less fortunate.

Champion sportswoman

“A life lived to the fullest, a life filled with love,” she said.

Ms Murphy represented NSW, the ACT and Victoria at junior and senior levels for the sport, and won gold medals at the Australian Masters, US Masters and World Masters Games.

Off the court, she held roles including president of Squash and Racquetball Victoria and vice president of Squash Australia.

Ms Murphy was also a member of the World Squash Federation governance and audit committee.

Skills and Training Minister Brendan O’Connor attended his former chief of staff’s funeral along with staffers in his office who worked with her.

“Peta was a remarkable person and a generous friend,” he told AAP.

“She was brilliant, funny and brave. She will be missed terribly.”


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