Chris Mendes

Chris Mendes

Party Leader

October 30, 2021

We mourn the passing of founding member Debbie Barwick

It is with great sadness that we announce the loss of one of the party's founding members, Debbie Barwick, after a battle with illness.

Debbie was the friendliest and most selfless person one was ever likely to meet. Her energy and her positivity was a source of great comfort and optimism, and she will be sorely missed.

For 33 years Debbie ran her own vintage clothes shop on the high street in Canterbury called Revivals. She was widely-known and liked in her local community for her warm personality and also for her grit and determination campaigning on issues that affected everyone.

Debbie not only had strong views about what was right and wrong, she constantly put one foot in front of the other and fought to make a difference. Her lack of extensive resources as an ordinary citizen, versus those in public office and large political parties who had those resources, never fazed her.

In January 2014, Debbie led a direct challenge against Canterbury City Council on the grounds of gross incompetence. Debbie’s passionate speech inside the council chamber was an exemplary instance of speaking truth to power. Her action, along with that of others, led to the resignation of the then Leader of the Council and the implementation of a major reform that made the Council more democratic going into the future.

In short, Debbie was a model citizen.

At a time where inspiration in politics is in short supply, Debbie’s life reminds us that the most inspiring people are found, not at the top of our society, but on the ground in and amongst us, whom we encounter in our daily lives, who make our day a happier one and who fight on our behalf whether we realise it or not.

A warm and loving personality always thinking about the well-being of others, and a fighter who stood up for what was right, Debbie was a remarkable human being who we will remember forever.

If the afterlife is governed by an elitist, out-of-touch and useless clique of career politicians, it won’t be for much longer because Debbie is now there to fix it. And in the meantime, she will be the first to lift everybody’s spirits while they wait.

Debbie, on behalf of everybody in the Foundation Party, thank you.

May you rest in peace.