I rise this evening to pay tribute to a lady, Denise Jeitz, who passed away earlier this year after a long battle with cancer. I'd like to recognise Denise not just because she was a good friend of mine but because, while most people in this chamber wouldn't have known Denise, I think all of us would know someone like Denise in our political parties. It is people like Denise that make all of this possible and, for me, and I know for many others, make it all worth it.
Denise never sought the accolades and never sought office within our political party—the Liberal-National Party, and before that the National Party—but she was a tireless supporter behind the scenes. Without people like Denise, a lot of people wouldn't even be here. I count myself in that category. Without people like Denise, there wouldn't be lamingtons and jam scrolls and cups of tea at all our functions, and, without people like Denise, you wouldn't have as much fun, that's for sure! This game can be quite tawdry and dirty from time to time.
It was a great loss for our party and especially for Denise's family. She passed away this year at just 69 years of age. She led a remarkable life. She grew up in the small country town of Bell, and she visited Canberra, moving and shaking with prime ministers and ministers and members of parliament.
As I said, I probably wouldn't be here without Denise. When I was first thinking of pursuing a political career, someone gave me some advice, saying: 'Look, the most important people you need to convince are women. Don't worry about the blokes, convince the women. If you get a bloke to vote for you, you've got one vote. But, if you convince a female to vote for you, you'll probably get 10 others, because they talk to people, when men tend not to.' I think it was with this advice in mind that I, very early on, called Denise, who I'd got to know a little bit but not that well at that stage, and asked her for her advice on what I should do. I was pretty chuffed as she was the first person to say she'd vote for me in the preselection, and that gave me, as a young, somewhat ambitious potential political candidate, a degree of confidence. My bubble was deflated a little bit a few weeks later when I found out that Denise wasn't actually on our LNP state council and couldn't vote for me anyway! But I had already embarked on that journey, and I thank Denise for it.
For Denise, despite her strong and long involvement in politics, family was at the centre of her life. At just the age of 17, she lost her mother. As the oldest child, she effectively became a surrogate mum for her younger sisters. She went on to have three lovely children, Lucinda, Cameron and Julia, and it was lovely to join Lucinda at the service in Dalby just a few weeks ago. It was a lovely celebration of Denise's life.
Denise saw a fair amount of tragedy. Her son, Cameron, succumbed to blindness at a very young age and eventually died in 2010, and she lost her husband in 2011. I knew her over that period and, as I said, despite all that sadness she was a guiding light for so many in our party. She was always there to help her local community. She was in politics for the right reasons. She secured funding for local community clubs, like the Jandowae Tennis Club, and for the Jandowae Timbertown Festival. People like Denise are the heart and soul of this country. They create communities and maintain friendships and, as I said, they really make this career worth fighting for.
I know that most of you would not have known Denise, but I hope that, in our political parties and movements, we can all remember and cherish the people like Denise who touch our lives, because, as we know, life can be too short. It definitely was for Denise. Vale Denise Jeitz.