Jo Cox, MP

Mr RICHARDSON (Mordialloc) — I want to rise and offer my heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of the British Labour MP Jo Cox, who was taken from this world last week in a callous and cowardly act. In Jo Cox the more than 107 000 people who inhabit Batley and Spen in the north of England had a compassionate and caring advocate who always looked out for the most vulnerable in society.

Jo made her mark on the world long before entering the British Parliament, tirelessly working on behalf of the most vulnerable in our world during her time at Oxfam between 2001 and 2009. That is where she met her husband, Brendan. They shared a common bond and purpose to give those facing persecution and suffering hope and security. In describing Jo, Max Lawson of Oxfam said:

Jo was a diminutive pocket rocket from the north. She was as a ball of energy, always smiling, full of new ideas, of idealism, of passion.

Upon her election in 2015, Jo Cox was seen as a rising star of the British Parliament. She chaired the Labour Women’s Network and the All-Party Parliamentary Group Friends of Syria, immediately impacting upon policy from opposition. In her first speech in the House of Commons, Jo said it best when reflecting on her community:

Batley and Spen is a gathering of typically independent, no-nonsense and proud Yorkshire towns and villages … While we celebrate our diversity, what surprises me time and time again as I travel around the constituency is that we are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us.

This notion is something we all share in this Parliament and we all strongly support. Britain has lost a warm, wonderful and talented person. I offer my condolences to her family and community.