MEMBERS STATEMENTS – Michael Dragwidge
Thursday, 8 February 2018
Mr CARROLL (Minister for Industry and Employment) (09:39:47) — I rise today to acknowledge the life of a great man, Michael Noel Dragwidge. Born on 24 February 1976, Michael lived a full life until he was taken away far too young at only 41 years of age on 20 December last year. Michael is survived by his parents, Lynette and Kevin Dragwidge, his sister, Amy, and his own beloved family — his wife, Georgina Dragwidge, and children, Maxwell and Matina.
I first met Michael at St Bernard’s College when I was a younger man. He was always a source of enthusiasm and encouragement with a mind and personality beyond his years. He was a leader within the college through his charisma, decency and care for fellow students. We both shared a passion for politics, in particular the Labor Party. It was no coincidence we both embarked on arts degrees with majors in politics at La Trobe University.
As Georgina, his wife, eloquently explained in her eulogy, Michael chose La Trobe because it had Australia’s best political thinkers, including Robert Manne and Judith Brett. La Trobe would also bring Georgina and Michael together as fellow students and political activists. Outside of study Michael and I both joined the local Niddrie Labor branch. Indeed it was Michael who helped recruit me. For my 21st birthday Michael gave me the late veteran Fairfax journalist Michael Gordon’s biography of Prime Minister Paul Keating with a nice message written inside, which I will always treasure. Michael loved Paul Keating. As Georgina explained at his funeral, Keating’s big‑picture ideals, from Aboriginal reconciliation to the republican movement and greater engagement with Asia, were all ideals Michael believed in. He also admired Keating’s quick wit and snappy dress sense.
Michael was farewelled at the packed Church of St Margaret Mary in Spotswood on 4 January. Such was Michael’s impact through his 41 years that in the church it was standing room only. Indeed the ceremony was broadcast outside. To his family I send my deepest condolences.