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Speech Sophie Trevitt


The Hon. T.A. FRANKS (15:47): I rise today to speak about Sophie Trevitt. Sophie Trevitt was a Green, an activist, an advocate, a lawyer and a diamond. Last month, on Twitter, her death was announced:

Sophie Jessica Trevitt, in the calm morning moments of 27 July, after nine months of battling a horrific brain cancer with the wisdom of a sage, breathed her last breath and passed peacefully into being nowhere but our memories of her.

And our memories of her are legion.

She was, as I said, a Green. She was active as a staff member for Christine Milne when she was the leader of our party at a federal level, for Richard Di Natale when he was the leader of our party at a federal level, and for the ACT leader of the Greens, Shane Rattenbury. She was active in the party during this as well. She was active in our campaigns as a convener in the ACT, and then when she moved to the Northern Territory she continued her voluntary work for our party there.

But it was as a lawyer where she truly shone—someone who was dedicated to speaking up and standing up for the things that truly matter to make this world a better place, to stand up for what is right. It is no surprise that I stand here today, as a Greens MP in South Australia, to honour the memory and legacy of Sophie Trevitt, because her reach was far broader than those offices where she worked and those state parties where she was an active volunteer. I note that my colleagues in Victoria, Ellen Sandell and federal Senator Larissa Waters, have also made similar statements in Hansard.

What Sophie managed to pack into her 32 years, as Senator Larissa Waters stated, is a lesson for all of us in how to make every moment count. In fact, as Larissa Waters has said in the Senate, Sophie's death reminds us all to stop mucking around and take action: get kids out of prisons, get refugees out of detention, stop approving new coal and gas, love boldly, be kind and have fun.

No matter what doubts she may have had, she was indeed, as Larissa stated in that speech, glorious. I always saw her as a diamond, and I have fond memories of watching her in La Sing in downtown Adelaide's Gouger Street when she was a Young Green here for a national conference or a national meeting of some sort, and people just orbited around her.

It was no surprise then that Sophie, when she finished her law degree at the ANU, moved to the NT where the need was great, and she worked on supporting kids who are in detention. She soon found that she could not stomach simply being there as a lawyer and she got active with Change the Record. Many of the MPs who have had any involvement with the campaigns to raise the age and to get kids out of detention and bring true justice in terms of reconciliation to this country would be familiar with Sophie Trevitt, or at least her work.

I will leave the words of Cheryl Axleby on the Hansard record as well today. Cheryl, speaking at Sophie's online memorial service last week, said:

As long as I've known you, Sis [you were always loved and respected]. You…got us….And I mean it with…respect…not many people really get us like you have.

The insight and respect you had shown through our work [through] the many years together is something that you don't see too often. [You] lived to empower our voices and you walk[ed] the talk. You fought strongly for the rights of our children. You lived strongly by your convictions to try and make this place a better world… We often shared stories about experiences and now and [then would] often [have] quite long yarns about what we could do about it.

That was the thing: Sophie was committed to changing the world, and I know that Greens right around this nation are committed to ensuring that Sophie's legacy is not lost and that we take forward her work with us. Hopefully, we see some of the laws that Sophie fought so hard to change finally being removed, such as the age of criminal responsibility.

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