Long before I had the privilege of serving as Carl’s Deputy in Government, I worked for him as his researcher here in the Assembly, while he was still on the backbenches.
Even back then, Carl put his own unique and colourful stamp on everything he did – and our office was no different. I am quietly confident that our office was the first and only office to boast a fluffy white lampshade, a purple lava lamp, and a statue of Eeyore.
Those years working for Carl were a joy. I will always be grateful to him for his kindness and generosity to both myself and my husband, Paul.
Working for Carl was every bit as fun as you would imagine it would be. But, behind the jokes and laughter was a deep seriousness about making life better for his constituents, and a driving passion for social justice.
I remember how proud and excited I was when Carl was promoted to his first Ministerial role.
After a couple of weeks, I asked him, “So, Carl, what’s it like being in Government?”
“Ah, mate,” he said, “I keep telling everyone to call me Carl, but everyone keeps on calling me Minister! I say ‘Call me Carl’, they say ‘Of course, Minister!’”
And that was Carl – he never got caught up in his own importance. He believed that everyone was equal, and he treated everyone the same.
In the fourteen years I knew Carl, I knew him as the big man with a big heart. And he wore that big heart on his sleeve. We all know the causes he was passionate about, and the things he loved – fairness, equality, social justice, kindness.
We are mourning now, because we are sad we will never see our friend again, but in time, our best tribute to him will be finish the work he started.