Families and Friends for Drug Law Reform

committed to preventing tragedy that arises from illicit drug use

12th Annual Remembrance Ceremony


Canberra Union Voices

Wo Ya Ya - written by the Ghanaian drummer Sol Amarfio (Osibisa), 1971

Welcome and Introduction - Brian McConnell, President, Families and Friends for Drug Law Reform

‘Reflections’ – Tina van Raay

Canberra Union Voices

Step by Step – composed by Lee Hayes, arranged by Chrissie Shaw

Address: Bill Stefaniak, Leader of the Opposition, ACT Legislative Assembly

Remembrance of those who have lost their life to illicit drugs

Reading of names – Rev’d James Barr, Senior Minister, Canberra Baptist Church

Placing of flowers at foot of memorial

Canberra Union Voices

Dona Nobis Pacem - sung as a round, trad. Latin.

Address: Rev’d James Barr

Canberra Union Voices

Baba Waian – traditional Torres Strait song arranged by Rachel Hore

Why Remember

We bring the hurt, the frustration, the angry words, the thorns;

We bring the lightness, the smiles, the laughter, the joy of dawn, the blossom;

We bring our love;

We bring the promise that delivered so much yet had within it so much more;

We bring our thanks for those among family, friends and strangers who stopped, understood and helped;

We bring the bruises of family, friends and strangers who saw but did not understand or who shied away in their fear;

We hit and cry against our leaders who pass by on the other side of the road and refuse to stop and listen;

We cry out against the sacrifice of those whom we love because of want of that which would "send the wrong message";

We bring the hurt that words of hate, contempt and condemnation about our love have brought us;

We know that even in the thralls of dependence those whom we love remain worthy and precious;

We carry the knowledge that with other laws we would not be in mourning today;

We bear our anger at our leaders who refuse to own that what they prescribe leads to this;

We bring our inability to bear the taunt that our love should have just said no;

We bring our knowledge of how hard-how really hard-they tried;

We bring our knowledge of their courage and goodness;

We bring our resolution to strive in their memory.


The locust tree (Robinia pseudoacacia) under which we are gathered was chosen because of its particular associations for the family of one of our members whose brother died in 1996. The tree then was bare. Its thorns stood out against the winter sky. But spring has brought new growth and white blossoms. Let its beauty and the confidence in its renewal inspire us.

The plaque and stone will continue to stand watch by the tree during the coming seasons. Let our meeting next year indeed be the celebration we yearn for of the end of death and suffering from illicit drugs - the most fitting memorial for those we remember today.