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Wednesday, 28 March 2001
Page: 25933

Mr ALLAN MORRIS (7:51 PM) —Tonight I want to talk about three women called Joyce. There are three wonderful women that I have had the great opportunity to work with and be close to over the years. The first of these was a woman called Joyce Ann Cummings, who, as Joy Cummings, was elected Lord Mayor of Newcastle in 1974, thus becoming Australia's first ever woman lord mayor. Joy Cummings brought to her position enormous compassion, values that are fundamental and genuine, and a great political skill. She won successive elections up to and including 1983, and served her community and her country with great dignity and great talent. In 1984, she experienced a stroke which disabled her severely. Since that time, she has had difficulty in speaking. She does, however, communicate remarkably well in a number of ways.

The second Joyce that I mention is a woman called Joyce Bond, who passed away just a few weeks ago but who, in the 25 years I knew her, made a great contribution across the Newcastle built and natural environments through organisations like Tree Towners, through the Newcastle Hill Residents Group and through a number of other community organisations. She brought to the community great tenacity, great depth and great understanding. The contribution she made was just wonderful.

The third Joyce was a woman who was named Mary Florence Manning but who took on the name Joyce many, many years ago. I think many people were surprised to find that that was not her actual name. Joyce Manning, a very dear and close friend of mine for very many years, died on 29 January this year, just three or four months short of her 75th birthday. Joyce became very involved in community issues and in local politics, and brought to that the wonderful natural feeling of people who have no axe to grind and no particular barrow to push. These kind of people just bring to parliamentarians, representatives and communities an insight which is fundamental and important to us but is often never recognised. They are the touchstones that we can steer by, and their honesty in what they put forward is a wonderful contrast to so much of what we see in public life. Joyce had been married to John, who had been an alderman on Newcastle council for many years. They had been married for 52 years. Her daughters Chris and Kathy, her sons-in-law Ian and Jim and her grandchildren Liana, Emma and Lee all miss her greatly, as does her sister, Jean Johnson, and her family.

From my point of view, I found these three special women to be people who gave tremendously to our community, with no expectation of recompense or reward of any kind. In many ways, they were not even aware they were giving. These three women, each with different backgrounds and in different ways, make up the quintessential element of the Australian persona of humility, lack of pretension and fundamental honesty which I find is much more widespread than perhaps people realise.

It also shows that people from different backgrounds can make a contribution. You do not have to be highly articulate or highly educated. You do not have to go to a particular school or be brought up in a particular group. These three women, from three very different backgrounds, made a contribution which is almost unparalleled—more so because they did it without expectation and without the exploitation of others. I place on record my great appreciation of the benefit I received, the benefit that the Newcastle community has received and the great sense of loss many of us feel now that these three women are no longer with us as we would love them to be. I pass on to their families and friends our appreciation of their contribution and the demands we placed on the three of them.