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Dr Vanessa Goodwin

June 13, 2018

[4.55 p.m.]

Ms ARMITAGE (Launceston) - Mr President, Vanessa Goodwin, 1969 to 2018. In the autumn of 1969, on 22 April, Vanessa Goodwin was born in Hobart. She was the only child of Edyth and Grant Goodwin.

 

Vanessa spent her early years at Rose Bay and often ventured to Seven Mile Beach to swim. She also spent much of her spare time participating in pony club with her horse Honey. Her love for animals was further fuelled when her family bought a cattery and a boarding kennel at Acton. Much of her childhood was spent surrounded by horses and dogs, and she had fond memories of always being surrounded by puppies. A lovely childhood memory for anyone.

 

Attending the University of Tasmania Vanessa studied arts and law. After graduating she worked as an associate to a former chief justice of the Supreme Court, the honourable Sir Guy Green. When Sir Guy Green was appointed governor, Vanessa followed him to Government House to work for him as his research assistant.

 

Hungry for more knowledge Vanessa spent time in England where she attended the University of Cambridge. She gained a Master of Philosophy in Criminology. On returning to Tasmania, Vanessa took up a position with Tasmania Police where she worked in research and policy around the causes of crime putting her learned theory into practice.

 

During this time she also earned her PhD after doing a thesis on repeat burglary victimisation. It was during this thesis research that Vanessa started her long association with Risdon Prison inmates. Vanessa spent many hours with the inmates finding out why they were in there and trying to discover if there was anything that could have been done to prevent their incarceration in the first place. She was selfless in her quest to improve the world a small piece at a time and we in this House saw that on many occasions.

 

Vanessa was a determined person. It actually took her three attempts before she won a seat in parliament and how lucky was the Tasmanian Parliament to have her. Her mother Edyth was a Liberal Party member and her father Grant once ran as an independent.

 

Once the Liberal Party won government it was an obvious choice to give Vanessa the role of attorney-general and minister for justice, corrections and the arts. Vanessa took on these roles with passion enthusiasm and sensitivity. She played a key role in developing and implementing programs designed to divert Tasmanian youth from taking the wrong life path and ending up in the criminal justice systems, and her relationship with Risdon Prison continued.

 

Although her portfolio and attorney-general roles were incredibly busy and complex, she took it all in her stride and coped competently and with grace. It was these characteristics that enamoured Vanessa to everyone she had dealings with.

 

No member of the Legislative Council has anything but praise and admiration for her. She was dedicated to her family, to her parliament and to her friends and workmates. She has strengthened the State of Tasmania through her hard work, dedication and determination to make a difference.

 

Vanessa was a workaholic. She loved her bike riding and fitness as well as her dogs and cats, which she always referred to as her fur babies - Sophie, Lavinia, Sox and Minnie. Vanessa was very sad when in January this year Sophie had to be euthanased.

 

The member for McIntyre and I enjoyed our visits with Vanessa, and she always had a gin and tonic. At that stage it was lovely to see the improvement with the trial drugs she was taking. We were all hopeful the trial medication that seemed to be working for Vanessa would result in remission of her disease. She put on Facebook in December 2017 that the visit to her oncologist showed improvement in her condition and that the chemotherapy was having a positive impact. Unfortunately, only a month later in January 2018, there was the disappointing news: the latest MRI showed the cancer lesions had grown significantly and the chemotherapy was then stopped.

 

In an uncanny coincidence Vanessa passed away on election day in March 2018. We are all very much poorer for losing Vanessa, a beautiful, smart and humble person. She will undeniably be missed. The world is a darker place without you, Vanessa. Rest in peace, our dear friend.

 

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