Mike Kelly: a special friend, a special tribute

May 1, 2020 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Liberal MP Julian Lesser sat across the benches in parliament from Labor MP Mike Kelly who announced his resignation from the government yesterday. He pays tribute to his special, close friend.

Julian Lesser, Suicide Prevention Australia CEO Nieves Murray and Mike Kelly

This week my friend Mike Kelly MP the Labor member for Eden-Monaro, announced his resignation.

I have known Mike for 22 years, long before either of us were parliamentarians.

Mike Kelly’s resignation is a real loss for our Parliament and our country.

Mike Kelly is a big man. Tall, with a real presence which fills any room – not imposing but more of a gentle giant. An army colonel and lawyer who has served our country with distinction both in time of war and peace.

He has brought to the Parliament deep experience in military matters, close reading of security issues especially among the Five Eyes Countries, a deep set of values and genuine humanity. I have seen this up close on the Parliamentary Joint Committee in Intelligence and Security.

Mike represented an honourable tradition within the NSW Right of the Labor Party – a supporter of traditional values and alliances (the US and Israel) which was more common in those parts of the ALP 20 years ago than it is today. 

Mike should be commended that as those around him changed he remained true to his values.

Mike was in Parliament to get things done not to play politics.

He and I founded the Parliamentary Friends of Suicide Prevention and have worked with colleagues across the aisle to share ideas and speak to experts about what works (and what doesn’t) to try and reduce the suicide toll. The standing of the group is demonstrated by the fact that both the Minister and Shadow Minister (and even PM and Opposition Leader) regularly participate in our events.

Mike has been battling physical health issues for some time now. All of us wish him and Shelly good health in the years ahead

Thanks for your service Mike but also thanks for being a great chaver/mensch and mate.

Photo: 2019 World Suicide Prevention Day Breakfast with Suicide Prevention AustraliaCEO Nieves Murray

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