Edward Mandla
Vale Robyn Kemmis

Published On: 29/02/2016

Lord Mayor I wanted to thank you for the Memorial Service for Robyn Kemmis.

It was an extraordinary event. Like many people there, I was both moved and amazed at the breadth of Robyn’s accomplishments. Accomplishments that many people only learned of during the service and that includes many people who were very close to her. Clearly, Robyn has taken the word understated to a new level.

There’s no hiding that Robyn and I had a combative relationship in the Chamber. But that masks the deep respect and admiration I hold for a person that doggedly stood by their values. I respected her hard work and passion. There was never any doubt that she placed the community first.

When it comes to Robyn, there appears to be no limit to learning more about her and the people she has touched.

I first met her in 2004 shortly after I was elected to the be National President of the Australia Computer Society. The Australian Computer Society held its national congress in Sydney and at a reception function I noticed two people that I had not met before. They were the first two politicians I ever interacted with. They were Shayne Mallard and Robyn Kemmis representing the City of Sydney.

About half way in our conversation, my brain flipped over to being the Treasurer of a then very distressed Hyde Park Towers. A building in long litigation with Walter Corporation over defects which led to the City of Sydney putting a fire order on the building. The threat of residents being thrown out on the streets was very real.

I recall how carefully Robyn listened to my problems. After a while, she said to Shayne Mallard, do you mind if I run with this? Robyn helped our building get access to the city’s General Manager, getting us a stay of execution and helped us find a way forward.

We’ll never know all the problems that Robyn had a hand in fixing but what we do know is that she achieved more than she would ever take credit for and that she is surely missed.

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