Monica Hayes, a friend and constituent in western Victoria, passed away on 26 August. Monica was a community activist extraordinaire, an outstanding exemplar of commitment and advocacy in her communities — in Essendon when she was a councillor and mayor, and on the Bellarine from 2001. Monica was a social reformer and an agent of change, especially locally. She founded and led innovative groups seeking practical improvements. Staying Put in Portarlington advocates for positive ageing in place and the establishment of age-friendly communities, reflecting Monica’s lifelong ideals and ethos that we should bind together to care for each other.
A career in clinical psychology provided insight into the importance of solutions to the dangers of isolation and exclusion from locality and community. Monica led inclusively and championed respectful relationships in all arenas. Her strength, resilience and determination meant that she put her hand up in challenging situations, inspiring many. As a committed feminist Monica constantly supported women in local democracy and leadership roles. The City of Greater Geelong’s inaugural Women in Community Life Award in 2015 and the Monica Hayes award for women in the north Bellarine recognise Monica’s work.
Monica’s pragmatic approach guided the way she approached motor neurone disease, embracing end-of-life choices and continuing to advocate for advance care planning. Monica was a dedicated ALP member, an office-bearer to the last and a regular campaigner. It was an honour to attend the Portarlington celebration of Monica’s life, where it was so clear that Monica touched the hearts of so many people as a friend, a community activist and a party member. Deepest condolences to Monica’s husband, Geoff Farey, and children, Sam and Rebecca. Vale, Monica Hayes.