Tributes have flowed in for former Member for Macquarie Maggie Deahm, who died suddenly on December 28. She was 77.
The first woman to hold the seat, Ms Deahm served as a Labor MP in the final term of the Keating government from 1993-1996. She was a councillor on Blue Mountains City Council from 1991 until her election to federal parliament.
Blue Mountains mayor Mark Greenhill said the local area had “lost a real character and a wonderful human being”.
"Maggie was a compassionate and warm person - a tireless campaigner for social justice,” he said.
"She was never changed by public office and remained the down to earth person we knew her to be.
"You meet people in life who have that rare ability to touch others - to act with real compassion and empathy. This was Maggie.”
Labor’s current candidate for Macquarie, Susan Templeman, said she was personally saddened by Ms Deahm’s death.
You meet people in life who have that rare ability to touch others - to act with real compassion and empathy. This was Maggie.Mark Greenhill
“Maggie was a source of great inspiration and advice for me when I first stood for the seat of Macquarie - she won the seat with boundaries similar to the current ones, of the Blue Mountains and Hawkesbury,” she said.
“She was very generous in sharing her experience of campaigning in a predominantly conservative area, like the Hawkesbury, and was a big believer in doorknocking.
“She fought for things like fairer veterans’ pensions and aged care policy, she cared about protecting the urban fringes from overdevelopment, and about balancing the needs of tourism with environmental protection - all things that still matter today.”
High-profile Labor politician Bob Debus subsequently won Macquarie for the party in 2007 - but under different boundaries that included Lithgow and Bathurst and not the conservative-leaning Hawkesbury.
“Maggie served with tremendous dedication and enthusiasm during her time in Parliament,” said Mr Debus.
“It was always going to be extremely difficult for her to hold onto the seat but she did the Labor Party and herself proud while she was there.”
Current Macquarie MP Louise Markus said she was deeply saddened by the news of Ms Deahm’s death.
“[She] will be remembered for her many commitments during her term, particularly her personal commitment to the management and treatment of breast cancer,” she said.
A funeral service will be held at Leura Memorial Gardens at 11am this Friday.