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Speech: Farewell to Richard di Natale

Speeches in Parliament
Mehreen Faruqi 25 Aug 2020

Richard, over the last few weeks I've seen you on Zoom and I've seen a few videos of yours on Facebook. I must say that you look happier, more relaxed and carefree than I have seen you look in the last few years. It's made it very clear to me that the decision you made to step out of parliamentary politics was absolutely the right one at this time. And you deserve to be relaxed and carefree after dedicating a decade of your life to our party and the broader progressive movement as a Greens senator—not to mention years of service before that to the party. You have my utmost respect for your passion and your humanity.

I will never forget the very warm welcome that you and your team gave me when I joined the Senate two years ago. It was your encouragement and your warmth that made me very quickly a part of our team. I've always found it very easy, and very easy to be open with you as well. That's such an important quality in the high-pressure, high-stress environment that we all work in. We've had many agreements and we've also had our disagreements. But do you know what? We've never swept issues under the carpet and we've always come out stronger at the other end. I thank you for always listening to the other's point of view.

I must say that the 2019 election was a highlight for me—the campaign. The hard work of campaigning was done with real collaboration, with real friendship and with a lot of fun along the way as well. I'm so proud that, together, we really pushed the boundaries on social justice and on environmental justice. And you should be very proud of your leadership during that campaign, which won us so many hearts and minds. And all our senators were back here.

But one of the things that I will always remember you for and thank you for, from the bottom of my heart, is speaking so unashamedly about tackling racism. You would never shy from calling out xenophobia, Islamophobia and racism. As a Muslim, migrant woman of colour, who regularly experiences the searing heat of open racism, the dog whistling against migrants and the damaging impacts of hate speech, I know that speaking out is never easy, but you have done it with gusto. Knowing you always had my back and the back of other communities of colour was both reassuring and very encouraging. Our party is now well set to continue and to unapologetically demand racial justice.

I'm sure that once you've had a break, Richard, we'll see some more wild and wonderful things from you, and I look forward to it. In the meantime, enjoy some very well-deserved down-time with your family. Thank you, Richard, and khuda hafiz until I see you again.


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