HON PETER COLLIER (North Metropolitan — Leader of the Opposition) [9.45 pm]: One of the great tragedies of COVID-19 is that families and friends have not been able to attend the funerals of their loved ones. On 4 April 2020 the world lost a genuinely wonderful woman. Her name was Andrea Mitchell. This is part of the eulogy that I delivered at her funeral which was, unfortunately, attended by only 10 people. In normal circumstances hundreds would have taken the opportunity to say goodbye to this magnificent woman.

Speeches by various members

HON ALISON XAMON (North Metropolitan) [10.01 pm]: I rise on behalf of not only the Greens, but also myself to pay my condolences to the friends and family of the honourable Andrea Mitchell. I want to make a few comments about her and my experiences with her. Andrea Mitchell was elected to the thirty-eighth Parliament in 2008, at the same time as I was elected. I did not really know her that well during the thirty-eighth Parliament. We would bump into each other occasionally in the members’ bar and exchange pleasantries, but I did not know her terribly well. However, I did get to know Andrea quite well much later on when she became Minister for Mental Health. At that time, I was the president of the Western Australian Association for Mental Health, I was the co-lead for the Mental Health Network for the Department of Health and I was also serving on the Ministerial Council for Suicide Prevention, which of course gave advice directly to the Minister for Mental Health. In those roles, I met with Andrea often and we would have many discussions about what was happening in mental health within both the community mental health sector and the department more broadly, and, of course, I would give advice on issues around suicide prevention.

I found Andrea to be very generous with her time, very keen to listen and very kind as a minister. My abiding memory is how keen she was to do a good job. I dealt with her a fair bit when she was the parliamentary secretary, so by the time she became the minister, we had already got to know each other reasonably well. She was very committed to doing the very best possible job she could. It was to her credit that she made a point of seeking out advice from as many people as she could to ensure that she was best able to be across her brief.

I recognise that it is an enormous loss. She was relatively young—certainly too young to pass at the age that she did. I am very sad for her friends, who I know loved her dearly and have felt acutely the pain of her loss, and I know how difficult the circumstances were, as people were not able to attend her funeral. To her family, I say that she was a wonderful woman, I respected her a lot, I liked her a lot, she was a good person and we pass on our condolences.

Speeches by various members

THE PRESIDENT (Hon Kate Doust) [10.07 pm]: Members, I also add my condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Andrea Mitchell. I know that she will be very sorely missed. She was always a very pleasant person to engage with.


Parliamentary Type: