‘Keep the glow’: Tributes flow for courageous MP

PM announces death of Labor MP Peta Murphy

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has vowed all MPs will “keep the glow” of the late Peta Murphy in their hearts, praising her strength and determination.

Federal MPs paid tribute on the floor of parliament on Friday to Murphy, who died on Monday aged 50 following a long battle with cancer.

Murphy, the Labor MP for the Victorian seat of Dunkley, had been in parliament since 2019, with her breast cancer returning just two weeks before she was sworn in.

Leading condolence motions in the House of Representatives, Albanese said the death of Murphy was a great loss.

“There are some members of parliament whose contribution earns begrudging respect of the chamber. There are others, rarer still, who win genuine admiration and real affection across the political spectrum. Peta Murphy was one of those,” he said.

“A fiercely loyal friend and colleague, a boss her staff adored, and a brilliant, funny, courageous and caring person who made this a better parliament because she cared so deeply about representing her community.”

Flowers were placed on Murphy’s seat in the lower house in her memory, with many MPs wiping away tears during the condolence speeches.

Albanese paid tribute to Murphy’s courage in the face of her cancer diagnosis, in particular her decision to appear with him at the Australian Open shortly after she had begun chemotherapy.

“She wanted for all those women in particular, but for others as well, going through the experience of cancer treatment to show that it was a fact of life,” he said.

“I found that incredibly courageous, each and every day she continued to show that, which is why she consciously chose to be open, transparent and in full view of everyone.”

Albanese said parliament was mourning not just the death of the MP, but the loss of her future contribution, saying she would have made a “fine cabinet minister of the future”.

“She will never be truly gone. We will keep the glow of Peta Murphy in our hearts,” he said.

“Those of us who met her and experienced her friendship are privileged to have done so. So let us keep her fine example, this outstanding, courageous, inspirational Australian, in our minds.”

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton said Murphy had so much more to give the parliament.

“She chose to use the bumps in her life’s journey to make a difference as a member of parliament and make a difference she most certainly did, living up to the ideals that she set for herself,” he said.

“Leaving us at only the age of 50, we all know that Peta had so much more to say, so much more to contribute, so much more to do. Some of us might wonder what the remarkable Peta would have done next.”

Skills Minister Brendan O’Connor, who Murphy served as his chief of staff between 2016 and 2019, remembered her humility.

“She was not comfortable with pride or being the centre of attention, which is a funny thing for a politician, unless it was for a cause bigger than her,” he said.

“She was principled, she was in a hurry to change things, but her work was always accompanied by compassion and integrity.”


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