The Canberra community is today mourning the death on Saturday of ACT Liberal MLA Steve Doszpot following a 12-month battle with liver cancer.
Respected on all sides of politics and known as a community champion, Mr Doszpot resigned from the ACT Legislative Assembly on the advice of his medical team only a little over a month ago after nine years in politics.
However, Mr Doszpot’s community service extends well beyond that and includes his leadership of Soccer Canberra and his role in bringing Olympic football to Canberra as part of the Sydney Olympic Games Organising Committee, as well as senior roles in Canberra’s developing IT sector.
ACT Opposition Leader Alistair Coe said Mr Doszpot’s life was lived in service of his family and his community.
“Steve was a great Canberran who served this city with distinction for more than 40 years,” Mr Coe said.
“Steve’s experience of escaping communism with his family in the 1950s was instrumental in shaping his values and philosophy. He generously shared the story of how he became a citizen as a way of describing his love for Australia and Canberra.
“Steve’s story of arriving as a refugee to becoming a successful business person and politician is a tribute to his work ethic and the opportunities that Australia offers.”
Mr Coe described Mr Doszpot’s selflessness, even while battling cancer.
“Through his 12 month battle with cancer, his extraordinary humility, dignity, faith and commitment to family was an inspiration to all,” Mr Coe said.
“Despite the aggressive cancer, Steve would regularly say that he was lucky and that there were many who were doing it tougher than he was. During a period when he had every excuse to be self-absorbed, he was selfless.
“My colleagues and I will miss him very much.”
ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said Mr Doszpot’s passing will be felt significantly across Canberra.
“Since moving to Canberra in the 1970s after fleeing war-torn Hungary as a child refugee, Steve helped showcase our city as a fantastic and welcoming place for world-class IT talent, sport and events – a legacy that will continue,” Mr Barr said.
“Throughout his time in the Legislative Assembly, Steve was a well-loved member and a strong advocate for Canberrans.
“His commitment to making Canberra a better place came from personal drive and a love for this city.”
In a stirring resignation speech to the ACT Legislative Assembly on October 24, Mr Doszpot spoke of his passion to work the hardest for the most difficult causes. He was known as someone who often fought for people who did not have the ability or resources to fight for themselves.
Mr Doszpot leaves behind a wife, Maureen, two children and several grandchildren.
“Although we knew him best through our professional lives, we all knew that it was his family that defined him,” Mr Coe said.
“His wife Maureen, his kids Adam and Amy and their spouses, and his grandchildren were always front-of-mind for Steve.
“We will miss Steve enormously and my prayers are with Maureen and the family at this time.”
Mr Doszpot has also written for The RiotACT as a featured contributor and will be sadly missed by the team here.