Vale Melissa Markham, Betty Marcy & David Goss

18 March 2024

Ms BYRNES (Cunningham) (19:35): I rise tonight to honour the lives of three Cunningham branch members of the mighty Australian Labor Party: Melissa Markham, Betty Marcy and David Goss.

On Thursday 22 February, we sadly lost Melissa Markham. Melissa is survived by her sons, Wayne, David and John; their partners, Tanya and Maree; and her deeply cherished grandchildren, Emily, Georgia, Mikayla, Matilda, Harry and Darcie. She is now reunited with her husband and my friend, the late Colin Markham. Colin Markham was a longtime member of the state parliament. He also served as Parliamentary Secretary for the Illawarra and was appointed Parliamentary Secretary for Aboriginal Affairs. During this time, Melissa was always by his side, through this very, very public time in their life.

She was a long-time supporter of the ALP and a valuable supporter of numerous campaigns at different levels over the years. Candidates included Norman Wilson, Laurie Kelly, Stewart West and George Peterson, just to name a few. Melissa was involved with fundraising, working on polling booths and letterbox deliveries of 'how to votes' for the ALP over the many, many years. Melissa was gentle, kind, caring and extremely thoughtful. She was an extremely generous woman with both herself and her time. She lived her life to the fullest and lived it with such honesty and abundance of love. She was a delight to be around, and her warm presence will be missed dearly. May she rest in peace.

On 16 February, we sadly lost Betty Marcy. Betty is survived by her children, Linda and Frank; her grandchildren; great-grandchildren; and my friend Nicholas Sands, her nephew. She is now reunited with her husband, Frank Marcy, once more. Betty had a profound love of music and found herself embarking on a phenomenal career in the music industry, from her first performance at the age of five on the Uncle Tom's"Gang" show on radio 2SM to touring all over Sydney and working on television. She sang on so many commercials in Australia that she earned the label 'Queen of Commercials'. She sang on the original Vegemite ad and she was the Throaties bird.

Betty was brought up with a strong political streak, grounded in her position that people were important above everything. She was a very active Labor Party member for many years, where she was always handing out 'how to vote' cards and attending rallies with her sister, Eileen Sands, who we lost a number of years ago. Betty's daughter, Linda, said:

She felt passionately about people and their welfare. She marched in many rallies to save Medicare and the ABC, to stop privatization of electricity, stop coal seam gas development … and to stop whatever Tony Abbott was doing.

I miss this tiny twosome at our Labor events, and Betty was an avid environmental activist and advocate for the ALP. She was always the life of the party and got her happiness from being around people that she loved and cared for. She drew people in with her infectious smile and personality, and her presence in the Labor Party will be sorely missed. Betty's favourite farewell was not 'goodbye' but always 'try to have fun', and, for everyone who knew Betty, she lived by this motto to the very end.

On 16 February 2024, we lost the wonderful David Goss. David is reunited with his beloved wife, Annie, and their son, Andrew. He will be greatly missed by his family Cathie, Sarah, Todd, India, Milla and Andie. David was always up for a chat, whether it be politics, his faith or anything in between. Two weeks prior to his passing I received an email from David. I am honoured to have received this email after writing to him for his 91st birthday, where he shared the following:

I am glad to see the changes in Stage 3 tax which was inevitable. When the circumstances change, I change my conclusions as Keynes noted. All the best to you in the year ahead and keep up the good work.

David was a member of the ALP for an outstanding 71 years and has been inducted into the party's life membership ranks. His tremendous effort within the party will be profoundly missed.

Melissa, Betty and David loved their Labor Party, and we loved them back. On behalf of Labor here in Cunningham, we love you, we miss you and may you rest in peace.