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Monday, 15 June 2009
Page: 6022


Ms PARKE (6:41 PM) —I would like to pay tribute to a long-time Labor Party member, Steve Gianola, who sadly passed away on 13 April 2009 aged 79. Steve was born at Mornington Mills near Wokalup in the south-west of Western Australia, the son of Italian migrants. Steve joined the Western Australian railways at 17 and became a steam locomotive driver at 25, just like his idol, the great Ben Chifley. He joined the Australian Labor Party in 1956 and was very active in both the railway union and the Labor Party. In 1969 Steve was struck by what Chifley described as a ‘shaft of fate’ when he suffered heart trouble and could no longer work as an engine driver. Fortunately, he could find salaried work with the State Energy Commission as a floor supervisor at Muja and then as a turbine driver at the Bunbury Power Station until he retired in 1991.

Steve held many union and party executive positions and worked on all Labor campaigns in the Collie and Bunbury area, including my own unsuccessful bid for the state seat of Mitchell in the December 1996 election. I have very fond memories of Steve, who was always cheerful and would do anything to help. Steve was a very active branch and community worker and a Labor true believer in every sense of the phrase. Steve will be sadly missed by his family, the Eaton and Australind community and members of the ALP’s Australind branch and Forrest electorate council. He is survived by his wife, Betty June; a son and daughter; and five grandchildren.