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Tuesday, 22 May 2012
Page: 5121

Ms KING (BallaratParliamentary Secretary for Infrastructure and Transport and Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Ageing) (16:09): I rise today to pay tribute to David Gough of Darbys Falls in New South Wales, who passed away earlier this month. David made a tremendous contribution to raising awareness about the importance of organ and tissue donation through his advocacy rides across Australia. He was moved to begin his advocacy work after his daughter, Melody, died in a car accident on Christmas Eve in December 2009. Melody became a multiple organ donor, ultimately saving the lives of three people through the generous gift her family decided to make.

I have heard from many of the people who were touched by David on his rides and have heard firsthand of the effect he had sharing his message and encouraging people across the country to talk about organ and tissue donation, as well as to register on the Australian Organ Donor Register. David's affinity with his fellow bikers led them to give him the moniker 'John the Baptist' because of the way he road from town to town spreading this important message. I am reminded of what David O'Leary, the President of Gift of Life, had to say in his tribute to David Gough at the recent memorial service. He said that David Gough was not just someone who had good intentions but someone who committed his time and energy to make a real and lasting contribution to the sector through his long-distance bike rides in rural areas. By meeting large numbers of people directly, and through the extensive media coverage he generated, he made a very real contribution. David's contribution was recognised and appreciated by others working in the sector and by all those he met, including those in very senior roles. Indeed, David was the recipient of the inaugural Terry Connolly Award for Community Awareness Raising at this year's ACT Chief Minister's Awards for organ and tissue donation awareness, arranged by Gift of Life in February, an award that was presented personally by Chief Minister Katy Gallagher.

The message David travelled Australia delivering is such an important one. Family members will always be asked to make the final decision on organ donation, and we know that when families have already discussed it the decision is immeasurably easier. David was due to travel to Transplant Australia's Transplant Games in September this year as part of their Journey of Hope campaign. I know that a number of the people David touched are already planning to pay tribute to David's legacy and ensure his important work continues into the future.

David is survived by his wife, Robyn, and his son, Tim. My thoughts are with Robyn and Tim at this time. David leaves an extraordinary legacy, one we should all be very proud of.