Victorian Labor senator Kimberley Kitching has died suddenly of suspected heart attack in the Melbourne suburb of Strathmore.
She began feeling unwell while driving between two meetings and pulled over and called her husband, Andrew Landeryou.
An ambulance attended but she could not be resuscitated. Senator Kitching died not far from where her vehicle was parked.
The whole Australian polity and media space is in shock. Tributes are flowing in from all sides of politics and media.
Ben Fordham, host of Sydney’s #1 Breakfast Radio Show says “she was a warrior.
“Last year she led the charge for Australia to seize the assets of foreigners who had committed human rights violations.
“She was a tough critic of the Chinese Government.”
Last year, Senator Kitching received the prestigious Magnitsky Human Rights Award for her work in setting up a human rights sanctions regime in Australia. She had also written a passionate piece in the Herald Sun on taking on Putin.
Daniel Andrews tweeted his condolences on Kimberley.
Terrible news tonight about Senator Kimberley Kitching. My thoughts are with her family at this very sad time. https://t.co/i7p5x8UfCv
— Dan Andrews (@DanielAndrewsMP) March 10, 2022
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Senator Kitching was “a parliamentarian in the truest sense” and “deeply respected by the Coalition”.
“She demonstrated that her passion for her country was always greater than any partisan view,” PM Morrison said.
“She clearly loved her country and it genuinely showed.”
A close friend and former Labor leader Bill Shorten said Senator Kitching’s passing was “an immense loss to Labor and the nation”.
“To know Kimberley was to be touched, not just by her serene intellect, but her incredible warmth and vivacity,” Mr Shorten said in a released statement.
“As a Labor senator she was relentlessly energetic and conscientious, recently resulting in international recognition for her human rights work.
“As well as her innumerable accolades she has been a wonderful friend to myself, my wife Chloe, and our family.”
So sad to lose Kimberley Kitching. She was a true patriot and had so much to give.
— Tony Abbott (@HonTonyAbbott) March 10, 2022
Labor leader Anthony Albanese said the party was “in shock” over her sudden death.
“All of us in the Labor family are in shock tonight at the sudden death of our friend and colleague, senator Kimberley Kitching,” Mr Albanese said.
“We have lost one of our own, far too young.”
“Kimberley gave so much. She had so very much ahead of her.
“Kimberley had such a larger-than-life personality that it is tragic that her bright light has gone out far too early.
“Our thoughts now are now with her family and all who loved her, especially her husband Andrew.”
Some insiders are reported in the media to suggest Senator Kithcing was under stress from her preselection woes. Her Preselection was under challenge despite being a sitting senator and one – who had performed far above her weight, having been in senate only since 2016.
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The ongoing mess in the Victorian Labor and the factional warlords at loggerheads to have their candidates preselected or positioned on the senate or upper house tickets – may invariably result in stress and heartache for any stakeholder.
In the final days preselection was an issue on her mind according to Labor insiders the ABC reports.
“Kimberley was stressed by all this bullshit,” one Labor member told the ABC.
“Some in the party were trying it on.
“She and Kim Carr are the only ones in Labor who haven’t been preselected.
“And this close to an election, it was a try-on.
“Those playing games didn’t even have another candidate to replace her.”
Having lost Kimberley Kitching, the Australian India community has lost a good friend and a warrior for better Australia India ties. Senator Kitching was very fond of India and Australia India relations. After visiting India in 2017, she fell in love with India and often said ‘India is incredible’.
Senator Kitching found a lot in common between the two countries and was of the view that the geopolitical realities necessitated that the tow nations would have a lot more things in common.
Senator Kitching always welcomed her interactions with the Australian Indian community.
Kimberley Kitching was born in Brisbane before moving to Melbourne in 1995. Not completely knew to the factional wars within the Labor party, Kimberley Kithcing had unsuccessfully tried for her preselection for the Victorian electorates of Lalor and Gellibrand in 2013.
Three years later, in 2016, she managed to win preselection to fill the Victorian Senate seat vacated by Stephen Conroy’s resignation.
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