Maritime Union of Australia National Secretary Paddy Crumlin has paid tribute to disability activist Stella Young, who has passed away at the age of 32.
Mr Crumlin, who served on the federal government’s National Disability Advisory Council from 2007 to 2013, said Ms Young was an outstanding Australian activist.
“Stella's contribution to Australian comedy and culture profoundly influenced public perceptions on the importance of disability sector reform,” Mr Crumlin said.
“Stella was effervescent, ironic, self-effacing, and relentlessly funny. Her diminutive frame housed a gigantic spirit.
“She was part of a unique coincidence of leadership that delivered the most important step forward for our Australian society in a generation through the National Disability Insurance Scheme. She was a spearhead in the effort to place empathy, compassion, and justice before self-serving and introverted values.
“Stella was uniquely able to deliver her message with style, beauty, and infectious optimism. The tears of laughter that inevitably sprung from her company and wit now mix with those brought forward by her loss.
“We at the Maritime Union of Australia extends our deepest sympathies to Stella's family. “Vale, comrade.”
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, worked with Ms Young in his previous role as parliamentary secretary for disabilities, said her loss would be felt keenly.
“She was as tough as they come,” Mr Shorten observed.
“She was smart and funny. Like all good comedians, she made you laugh and she made you cry.”