Speeches

Federal Parliament - Mr Laurie Kerr

June 16, 2020

Dr ALYMembers in this chamber may not know the name of Laurence 'Laurie' Kerr. Those who do know him or know of him might associate his name with the Kingsley Amateur Football Club, where, as chairman of the selectors of 2002, he turned the club's fortunes around and the senior and reserves made their respective grand finals. Later that year in October, the club's players, 19 of them, headed to Bali to celebrate their win. Laurie was there too. They had been in Bali for less than 12 hours when tragedy struck. Laurie Kerr was born on 12 May 1958. He was a survivor of the Bali bombings on 12 October 2002. The club lost seven of its players that night in Bali at the Sari Club. Laurie survived with burns to 20 per cent of his body, but the bombings really changed his life.

Sadly, I stand here today to commemorate the life of Laurie Kerr. He passed away on Saturday 13 June 2020. When I met Laurie, I was struck by two things: his incredible sense of humour and his incredible sense of sadness and loss. As we shared a meal one day in a little cafe in suburban Greenwood, just a few minutes from his home in Kingsley, he wavered between tears of sadness and sometimes tears rolling down his face while he bellowed in laughter. Laurie didn't want his life to be defined by the bombings, but the trauma was just too much. In fact, in the moments after the bombings, despite his injuries and still inside the Sari Club, he worked to rescue others. But in the years since then, he had been battling constant pain from his injuries, he'd undergone numerous operations and he had chronic pain syndrome.

My office, along with Kingsley MLA Jess Stojkovski and the Australian Red Cross, helped Laurie to get permanent housing and to work with Centrelink. He didn't live in Cowan; he actually lived in Moore, and I know the member for Moore to be a decent human being, and I understand that he will also be speaking on the life of Laurie. He deserves to be remembered in this chamber.

Laurie is survived by his children Tristan, Aaron, Brittany and Allira, and by six grandchildren. I understand that he passed away peacefully and was found in his lounge room on the sofa. If there was one thing I could have wished for Laurie, it's that he would find peace. Laurie, may you rest in peace now.

ENDS