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Tuesday, 20 March 2012
Page: 3663


Mr FRYDENBERG (Kooyong) (20:15): Today we mourn the passing of a very special Australian, a man who has left an indelible mark on our lives—Jim Stynes. Taken by cancer at just 45 years of age, Jim will be fondly remembered not just as a champion footballer but as a champion human being. He was the winner of the Brownlow Medal in 1991, an All Australian, a multiple best and fairest award winner and a member of the Melbourne Football Club's team of the century.

Who would have thought that in 1984, when he responded to a local ad in an Irish newspaper looking for Gaelic players as potential AFL recruits, that such a career would come about, that he would become the Victorian of the Year three times, that he would be inducted into the Order of Australia and that his name would become synonymous with helping others.

I met Jim last year at a Reach Foundation breakfast, where I attended as a guest of board member and friend, Bill Ranken, and which hundreds of people attended. At that time Jim was clearly battling hard against the illness, but he seemed both positive and determined. We always knew that Jim Stynes had a special zest for life. As the co-founder of Reach with his mate Paul Currie, Jim Stynes has been responsible for preventative programs that have helped over 60,000 Australians aged between 10 and 18 years of age build their self- confidence, develop resilience and emotional awareness and promote general wellbeing. This is Jim Stynes's real legacy: the hundreds and indeed thousands of lives he has left better off.

To Jim's wife, Sam, and their children, Tiernan and Matisse, I say the country's thoughts go out to you at this very difficult time. Your husband and father was a brave and dignified man who won the nation's heart, and his departure now breaks the nation's heart. We mourn Jim Stynes and we will always remember him as the champion he was.