Last Friday, St Christopher's Cathedral in Manuka was filled to overflowing as we farewelled a beloved member of the Canberra community, the late Steve Doszpot, who was accorded a state funeral from the ACT government.
Steve Doszpot was a gentleman. He was a true gentleman who entered politics to serve, rather than be served. Steve had made a significant contribution to the Canberra community for more than 40 years. He often shared how the experience of escaping communism with his family in the 1950s helped shape his values and his philosophy for public service.
His story of arriving as a son of refugees to become a successful businessman and politician is a tribute to the Australian ethos of a fair go. Steve loved sport and, prior to entering the ACT assembly as an MLA, his strong contribution and leadership as president of Soccer Canberra earned him great respect amongst the football community. He also spent time as president of the ACT Olympic Council during the Sydney Olympics.
It shows the true mark of the man that he would spend his remaining time advocating for better awareness of liver cancer and better awareness of cancer generally. In his final speech in the assembly, he said: 'It is not for myself that I am asking. My cancer is inoperable. But, in the course of my journey so far, I've become very much aware of how early diagnosis of liver cancer could help save many lives.' Condolences to his wife and his family and friends. Vale, Steve Doszpot.