Mr RICHARDSON (Mordialloc) — I take this opportunity to acknowledge the life and very sad passing of Luke Johansson. While I did not have the opportunity to meet Luke, it was through an outpouring of grief and love from so many local residents that I came to know his story and how he would brighten up the lives of those around him. Recently I met the Johansson family and spent some time with Luke’s parents, Debbie and Walter, and his siblings, Matthew and Petera, along with Luke’s friends Erin Glover and her partner Stephen, who reflected on the many memories they shared.
What was clear to me was the warm and loving family environment that underpinned Luke’s upbringing and the remarkable person he came to be. Luke attended Nola Barber Kindergarten, Aspendale Primary School and Mordialloc College. From a young age he showed a quick wit and cheeky attitude that would carry him all his years and that endeared him to others. Luke took an interest in the issues of the day, and friends and family would know they were in for a marathon debate on a particular issue. As one of Luke’s mates said, ‘Every time I saw Luke he would make me feel good about being me and engage me in the deepest of intellectual conversations that he loved having so much. The man had a huge brain and an even bigger heart’.
What was truly amazing was the outpouring of love and support from the wider community. In a fortnight hundreds of people raised over $20 000 in support of the Johansson family. On the day that Luke was farewelled, over 600 people came together to reflect on a young man who left such an impact in his 26 years of life. This is a deeply sad time for the Johansson family, but I hope that there is comfort and pride in the knowledge that their son and brother was loved by so many.