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Thursday, 1 August 2019
Page: 1901


Mr KEOGH (Burt) (10:14): I rise today in memory of one of the WA Labor movement's most dedicated and loyal volunteers, Roma Jeffery, who passed away recently. A stalwart of the Labor Party in WA and a most dedicated volunteer in what is now the federal electorate of Burt, Roma was a familiar face around the Armadale-Kelmscott area, volunteering for many years in the office of previous state member for Armadale Alannah MacTiernan and, more recently, the current member for Armadale, Tony Buti. Roma, burdened with a walking stick, wasn't overly agile, but that never slowed her down. She volunteered full time in the state Armadale MP's office for many years and was a dedicated member of the Armadale branch. With catchcries of, 'For heaven's sake,' and, 'Don't be ridiculous,' she always knew how to put us in our place, whether she was speaking to a state minister, an ALP volunteer or a fresh-faced Matt Keogh, the local kid with ideas of one day changing the world. She rarely laughed, but when she did it was exceptionally hearty.

Speaking to my colleagues in the state electorate office, they fondly retold the story of the minister's driver one day having his tie stuck in the shredding machine. Roma, bless her, had decided there was no point having the driver sitting around doing nothing, and promptly put him to work assisting with some shredding. But leaning over that shredder had some unintended consequences. Poor Peter's tie, along with a fistful of documents, went straight into the machine, his face getting closer and closer to the blades. Distracted by the hilarity of the situation, all Roma could do was cackle with laughter as his face got ever closer to the machine. Thankfully, she did compose herself enough to turn off the power and help Peter out of his predicament.

I've known Roma for nearly all of my life, and our movement, particularly in the Armadale-Kelmscott area, is much richer for her having been in it. When I used to work as a local lawyer across the car park from the member for Armadale's office, she would enlist me to take the bins out onto the highway on a Monday night. Of course, I always dutifully complied. Roma knew all of the history, all of the stories and, importantly, all of the local gossip, too. She was a very important resource for many of us, especially our local state MPs. She was the near permanent Treasurer of our local Labor branch and the FECC. She volunteered for the Labor Party for as long as she possibly could, and for that we can never thank her enough. Roma leaves behind her wonderful daughter, Veronica, who herself had the job of supervising me on school work experience in the state MP's office. Roma will be greatly missed by us all. We are all so grateful for the role that she has played in our lives and the advice and guidance that she has given us through it. Vale, Roma.