Tributes to Dr John Kaye

In Memoriam Dr John Kaye MLC, 1955-2016

In Parliament

Footage of politicians paying tribute to John




In the Media

Coverage of John's passing in the media





Messages from Colleagues, Supporters and Organisations


John Kaye was a wonderful Human, each time I met him he was totally engaged in any conversation and could understand every issue I raised with him, especially to do with renewable energy and Education. John worked tirelessly for the benefit of the Environment and Humans and he knew that a healthy environment was essential for a healthy society. John was as great a Human as any Human I have ever heard about. I, and many others miss him sorely

— Robert Baker

John was a wonderful person who could seem to get on with everyone, whether they shared his views or not. He was I think the only engineer who could explain anything technical or not in terms that everyone could understand.  He made action against climate chaos seem perfectly obvious, logical and 100% achievable and I still wear that t-shirt proudly. He stayed with me several times when visiting the South Coast and it was always a pleasure. I remember one occasion when he took himself off for an early morning walk and I got a phone call to say he was lost.  We soon worked out where he was and I directed him back to my home. I also remember driving him to a community organised public meeting about climate action when it was bucketing down with rain and thunder and lightening and we finally decided to make a dash into the hall. In a relativily small country town in a hall with a capacity of about 300 where it was literally standing room only. John was the only political speaker invited. Coments afterwards said that John just made it all seem so logical. Where are those crowds today?  John as always so respectful of others whether they agreed with him or not so he was respected by everyone. Though I had limited contact with John I keep wishing he was still around so I find it hard to imagine what it is like for his family and close friends. He was a decade and a half younger than I but I am doing my best to keep up some of what he would have done.

— Margaret Perger

John Kaye is the first politician I met personally on two causes.  The first one is on his support to our cause for our democratic freedom in Burma. Many occasions concerning talks, meetings and functions among Burmese he was there to show his concern and sympathise the plight of the burmese under the military junta. The second reason I met him several times was when my husband Ian Oxenford running as Greens candidate for Lyne electorate in 2007 and in 2010.  He visited us several times and always give us good insights regarding the Greens political standing. One thing that strikes me so well was when I asked what can you do when other parties copy our policies and core beliefs? John's answer was "as long as our nation gain benefit, it does not matter even if other parties copy our policies". What a wise statement. I will never forget that.

— Tin Hta Nu

As a rural Green, we met John a couple of times as he travelled around, most memorably joining us on an anti-coal seam gas stall in Taree. He impressed us with his deep knowledge, sharp intellect, sincerity, affability and humility. He was never fazed by incoherent locals, but gently persevered and appeared optimistic. Instead of rushing off to his next appointment, he later lunched with us and chatted easily as one of the gang (including my 80 year old Green mum). I still get tears in my eyes when I re-read his last letter to all of us in a Greenmail. It's an honour to have known him.

— Jane McIntyre

Dr John Kaye was one of those rare people who was so warm and thoughtful that he could make otherwise dull facts fascinating and attainable. A wonderful speaker, a lover of animals, a decent man of great integrity who really listened and truly cared.  Such an incredible loss for his family, for the Greens and for the Australian community. RIP John.

— Sally Johnson

The Greens NSW and the people of NSW were incredibly lucky to have the benefits of John Kaye's knowledge, insight and hard work. On top of that he was the nicest person, always open, caring and encouraging. He had courage, determination and strength, and great compassion.

— Pelican Paul

I had the honour of meeting Dr John at a number of rallies in Lismore, and a more shining advocate for the Greens could not be found. A man of high integrity and wisdom, also a thorough gentleman, amiable and courteous to all. Sadly missed.

— Peter Wall

In losing John we have been deprived in NSW of a champion as well as an effective voice in Parliament for The Greens. So sad for us all and our polity.

— Fergus McPherson

John used his time pursuing a fairer society and a sustainable environment. He inspired me, when I met him on his frequent visits to the north coast of NSW, to spread the message of the Greens to my colleagues, friends and family. I can recall marching with him on an anti-csg protest in Bellingen in 2015, and showing me how to respond peacefully and non-violently, yet assertively, to people who violently opposed our views. He is fondly remembered.

— Mark Flindall

I got to know John through the No Tillegra Dam campaign. I was chair of the No Tillegra Dam Group for 2 years as we began to work more closely with him. We had to balance our local group's cautiousness about working with "those greenies" but John of course won them over. It was his incredible capacity for just being straight and authentic, people simply took to him when they saw his commitment and his dedicated interest in them. He got to know many of us and always remembered who was who, what they did and could always engage in interesting conversations with everyone. Of course his strategic political thinking got us over the line. I miss him so much.

— Sally

John was the reason I joined The Greens. He was there in our battle to save schools, a battle that we ultimately won. He shared some of his memories with me of his favourite places when we travelled down south visit southern groups. He was one of the most intelligent, funny, difficult, accomplished people I have ever known. He is one of the few people that I still think of - often.

— De Brierley Newton

Long may John's passion for change be with us all - best wishes to family.

— Georgina Zyka

I didn't know you personally but I knew people that did and the impact you had on them was one of the reasons I joined the Greens. In the increasingly toxic and disengaged world of Australian politics you were one of the very few who actually inspired action, parliament and the country is worse off without you. But hopefully others who worked with you and believe in the better world you worked for will carry on the fight and help bring the dream of a kinder, fairer and greener future closer to reality. We will miss you.

— Tor Larsen

Thank you Dr. Kaye for all of the dedicated work you did with The Greens to help make Australia a better and fairer place for all Australians, those born here, those who immigrated here a long time ago, and those whom we embrace as refugees. Thank you.

— Karin Hannah

I've been a Green for over a decade and while I never worked closely with John I did hear him speak on many, many occasions. His integrity and principal were there for all to hear and to see in action. Men and women in the Greens and in the broader public knew that they had a champion in John. We knew that John was not driven by self-interest or knee-jerk ideology like so many on the right of politics. I admired John and I shall remember him with great respect.

— Michael Davis

I spent a good deal of the last weekend thinking of you John, I miss your conversations, your encouragement and your passion. The MP interactions were a passion of yours and we're struggling to get some of your colleagues to feel the same passion. Every time I am at a TAFE, talking education, discussing the future of the planet you cross my mind and I miss you. Even down to the cross look on your face when we last spoke at an FLG Meeting when I pushed a topic that clearly had frustrated you and your blunt and honest answer to my questions. We're floundering a little John, your not being here has made a difference and while some do try to spark the same flame they're not you. Words cannot express the impact you had on me and so many of  our colleagues, words cannot express how sad we are you've left us. I miss you my friend and I celebrate you and your passion every time we move a little closer to achieving one of your passions, whether a solar announcement or a positive step in eliminating the Greyhound disasters. We will continue the fight, we will continue the journey, its just a whole lot harder with you not being here. I hope you got your #savetafe... and know we look forward to the day we can celebrate your successes and dedicate them to you. Warmest regards and thanks for the fond memories.

— Signe

John was a man of enormous intellect, energy and passion. We were very fortunate to have had him in our party, supporting a fairer, more compassionate Australia. He and I often argued about so many things, from questions of policy to more banal issues like how to tell the story and get it out -  every argument was a pleasure. A pleasure because John always stayed with the principle. He worked hard to avoid the murky waters of personality attacks and I never once felt disrespected or marginalised despite our differences and the very real level of experience - John was head and shoulders in front of me when it came to strategy and politics.  A year on, I think we are all even more aware of his enormous legacy. A year on he is still profoundly missed.

— Julie Macken

Thank you for this memorial to a true champion for justice and truth and a kind and passionate leader who is greatly missed in public life. Thank you John for your generous service of the community. Condonlences to Johns close friends and family.

— Tracey Carpenter

We need so many more people like John Kaye. A sad loss for all of us but most of all for you.

— June Lunsmann

In remembering  John one year on I am reminded of a person who I considered a friend even though we only met a handful of times. I stayed at his place and he stayed at mine. John was an amazing person in so many regards. I would like to pay particular tribute to the work he did in formulating cannabis harm minimisation policies around 2001. As in many aspects John was ahead of his time and able to shed light on many subjects. Although my loss is small in terms of time spent together I wish to acknowledge the pain of so many people who knew and loved  him well.

— Andy Putnam

I remember John coming to our group meetings always passionate about spreading the word, even if there was only a few of us there. I shed a tear on the train when I heard of his passing.

— Paul Gage

News of John's death came as a very sad shock. As a member of the Central Coast Greens I met John on several occasions and was always impressed by his knowledge of portfolio, dedication and enthusiasm for the cause. This in addition to his being a nice man. Knowing him was indeed an inspiration, and I hope his example will inspire us all to higher things. With very great sadness and sincere condolences.

— Jan Anderson

So sorry to hear of the passing of such an inspiring and thoroughly decent human being. I always found his talks most informative. My thoughts are with his family and fellow Green stalwarts.

— Robyn Richardson

Public servant of the highest caliber. Human of the kindest character. You will live on as the lives you've touched continue to carry out the movements you began. Vale.

— Shane Gorman

I'll never forget John's formidable understanding of the processes of making steel and for how electricity works and ways to make them both more sustainable. Despite his immense technical knowledge, he was a lovely, down to earth guy, who always asked how we were going and remembered the details the next time we met. From what I've seen online this last week, he managed to make everyone else feel close to him too. We'll miss you, John.

— Sue Moran

Thank you for everything John. You were a massive inspiration in my political life. I'll miss your fiery, impassioned, and kind spirit.

— Rafi Alam

John was a person who always remembered the many people he met, and had a kind word for all. My family joined The Greens in the late 90's and John seemed to know all of us, showing great sympathy when Merlin, a fellow-academic, died. John's commitment to renewables and community action was inspiring and tireless. We will all miss him.

— Jocelyn Howden

I feel privileged to have known John, although only for a few years. While all the MPs and senior Greens support new members, I felt John was a particular mentor. He was also probably the only other person in the Greens who was up for a discussion on Manichaeism and its relationship with Yazidi refugees and Steiner education! The breadth of his knowledge, and his passion was inspiring. He will be very much missed.

— Kate da Costa

From your mentorship of me as a honours thesis student in electrical engineering, I gained a sense of what I could contribute to the world of renewable energy. His work in the renewable energy space has inspired many to work in this exciting field, and fight for a world not devastated by human induced climate change. His contribution to the 100% renewables goal will persevere.

— Nicole Ghiotto

John Kaye was the most inspirational speaker I had ever heard, it was because of his dedication & passion towards this earth that I joined the Greens Party. I will continue to fight for the what he believed in & he will remain forever in my thoughts, what a sad loss for this planet!

— Vivienne Smith

Thank you John for your vision and determination. It was inspiring to work with you at Erskineville. I'll never forget your support and sense of humour when you helped my free range eggs campaign at Hornsby Council.

— Andrew Martin

John Kaye was a truly great man, the best kind of human being and his loss is a big loss for our country. It's so sad that he has been taken so soon. I was lucky enough to work with John when I stood for the seat of Keira in Wollongong in 2007. It was such a privilege. He was a man full of charisma with strong principles, smart and passionate. Enthusiastic and inspiring. The kind of person that lights up a room. A man that sticks to his values. A great speaker. I have so much respect for him. I'm so lucky I got to see him in action and learn from him. Wish there were more like him. We need them. He will be greatly missed. John's work will not be forgotten. Rest in peace x

— Kate Brandreth

John I will so miss your wonderful mind and huge heart.  You taught me so much about what it is to be a Green and were invaluable when I worked as staff on a State campaign a few years ago.  Happy memories of road trips up to Armidale and beyond discussing how we can make this a better place to live. The world is certainly better because you were in it and our lives are the better for having known you.  I can hear your impassioned speeches about both renewables and TAFE and your words will stay with me and guide me to continue to improve the world we have. Rest easy my friend as you contributed more than 100 men in your short life and you will not be forgotten. xxx

— Cheryl Cooper

The last time I spoke to John we shared a quiet hour in a cafe at Unanderra. We did not speak about politics much in that hour but we did speak of lots else. John gave me another demonstration of what a well informed, caring, empathetic and just plain decent man he was. It was both an honour and a pleasure to have known him.

— Peter Moran

It seems so unfair that someone so genuinely "good". Someone who stands out as a man of utter integrity in a parliament so bereft of it, should die when we need his ethical leadership so much. My great obsession, public education was his as well. And for the same reasons..every Australian should have the opportunity to make the most of their skills and talents, regardless of background, economic, situation, family situation, geography or age. Only a free comprehensive, coeducational, secular, community centred public system can achieve this. What an investment it would be for our country and its future. Vale John. I never met you but absolutely wished I had.

— Trevor Benson

I ran into trouble as a Greens candidate in the 1999 local Government elections, that threatened my candidacy, my membership and my sanity. I received a calming and wise call from a guy I had not yet met. John helped sort things out and we went on to win that election. I never forgot what he did that day and we remained close ever since. When we moved into our new accounting office in early 2007, John, as a newly elected MLC came over and "officially opened" the office and brought all of his accounting work for us to do. I valued his counsel, his patronage, and our long enduring friendship.

— Peter Forrest

Farewell to a wonderful person and a thoughtful politician. The NSW parliament has lost one of its greatest assets, not to mention all those who benefitted from his knowledge, concern and wisdom.

— Mark Berriman

A man of Integrity, who did not compromise his ethical and moral values. A great loss for Australia and humanity in general.

— Tanvir Kazmi

John was one of the most intelligent and principled people I've ever  met. His far too early death is such a sad loss to the world. We could do with more people like him. He will be missed, but hopefully emulated.

— Kathryn Maiden

Grazie per il tuo lavoro disinteressato a favore della gente comune.

— Francesco Raco

Some people are lovely people, and make those around them feel good.  Some people are brilliant game changers, campaigners, who drive change that makes the world a better place.  Some people are wonderful leaders, who inspire others by their actions and words, not by orders and authority.  It's rare that that you find all these attributes in a single individual. John was all of this and more. I will miss John's friendly smile and cheer, but he will live on for what he has done and what he has given.  He made the world a better place ... he has left the world a better place.

— Ian McKenzie

I heard John speak at a Shoalhaven Greens meeting in Nowra a couple of years ago. I was impressed with the warmth of the man and his astonishing general knowledge and energy.  He spoke for more than an hour without notes on Greens policy and sustainability issues and the attention of his audience never wavered. His contribution to the Australian political debate has been substantial and inspiring...who knows what he would have achieved had his life not been cut so tragically short.

— John Levett

I am so sad to think that John will not see the many changes that he fought for so bravely, that we are so close to achieving in the very near future. I hope he knew that they will all be achieved as we will continue to fight for all the things he stood for. A truly great human has left us and we are so lucky to benefit from his achievements. May your soul reach enlightenment.  

— Linda Wilson

I met John when he came to Armidale several years ago. I'll never forget how passionate, genuine, articulate and knowledgeable he was, and how inspiring in his approachability. I'm very sad to hear of his passing. Condolences to his friends, colleagues and family.

— Sally Thorsteinsson

I'm pretty sure I first met John in the mid 90's at the Critical Mass cycle rides, and was tremendously inspired at countless Greens' meetings and events over the years. Seeing him elected to the Parliament marked a new era in the growth and impact of the Greens. John's formidable intelligence and outstanding ability to persuasively communicate a Greens view on complex issues made him a powerful force in our movement, and his premature departure leaves a gaping hole in our circles. Above all, John's genuine compassion and interest in people made him a great friend as well as a colleague; he never failed to ask after my kids before our conversation turned to any political developments. It's comforting to know I'm joined by many in missing him terribly, feeling his sudden loss so profoundly, and hearing so many others are united in our determination to honour his legacy by recommitting ourselves to carrying on his life's work. Deepest sympathies to all his family.

— Brent Hoare

We are so lucky to have known John and are in awe of his capacity and achievement. So sad. Wendy & Tony

— Wendy Wales

It is not well known that John and Lee Rhiannon sponsored a conference at the NSW parliament in 2008, just prior to the Pope's World Youth Day extravaganza, on the subject of whether Australia and New Zealand are 'Christian nations'. John's speech was published in Realising Secularism: Australia and New Zealand, ANZSA Melbourne, 2010.  John was a fair-minded secularist who understood that public education was sold down the river in the infamous Defence Of Government Schools High Court case of 1981. It has never really recovered as billions have been poured into into tax-exempt religious schools, with tax-exempt churches behind them, at the expense of public education.  Hence Gonski. John actively supported Ron Williams in his 2010 and 2012 High Court challenges to the National Schools Chaplaincy Program. Ron won, then the federal parliament legislated over the head of the Court to continue the funding. There's much more, but we say, thank you John, for supporting Secular Public Education.

— Max and Meg Wallace

What a wonderful advocate for so many critical changes that we need to make. John leaves a legacy that so many of us can be proud to promote and pursue.

— Gary Moore

John made many visits to the Mid North Coast, giving tirelessly to our group.  His commitment to 100% renewables gives hope and inspiration to those of us left behind to keep up his work.  Too young to die!

— Elaine Sherwood

I find John's passing just so hard to come to terms with.  He was an inspiration and a light of hope in the face of the rise of neoliberalism and corporate greed.  His was a voice of reason and compassion and common sense for the common man and woman which will be greatly missed.  Personally, I greatly appreciated his support for our campaign for the staffing of qualified teacher librarians in all schools, and for public education in general. Thank you so much, John Kaye, for your energy and commitment to improve the human condition. We must all work twice as hard without you there to speak for us.

— Georgia Phillips

John you will be missed more than I can say. I am proud to have known such a person as you, your loss to the Greens, to Australia and to humankind is inestimable. I loved having you to stay here at our place when you were on the campaign trail in Myall Lakes, but I will never forget the look of horror on your face when I told you we only had dial -up internet (this was in the old days) and you couldn't get SMH online. We were able to get ADSL 2 not long after, but I think it was your first encounter with the limitations of IT and telecommunications in rural Australia. My dear John: you were an inspiration and a wonderful mentor, a generous warm and caring person. You will live on in the good that you have achieved, and in a future that will carry on your ideals. Blessing and heartfelt sympathy to Lynne, she has a hard road to travel.

— Judy Donnelly

The loss of John is hard to take in. He was a bedrock of the NSW Greens, and he seemed to be everywhere. His workload must have been phenomenal, but he always seemed fresh and full of energy. I felt privileged - and a bit awestruck! - to have a coffee with him at the Mullumbimby SDC a few years ago. Listening to his maiden speech, his concerns were prescient and it's difficult to accept that he won't get the 8 years he should have had to continue tackling them. I'll miss hearing his voice on the ABC NewsRadio. Condolences to his colleagues, friends, family and partner Lynne.

— Margaret Kerr

I first met John at a meeting in Auburn where he sat down with members of the community to discuss his vision of a renewable energy future for NSW. He spoke elegantly and listened patiently to the questions being put forward including my own which inspired me to believe in renewable base load power and that our dream of a sustainable world could be reached. I also helped in his 100% renewable NSW campaign, sharing with my colleagues and friends his vision of a state which takes control of it's power usage by investing in a cleaner future. I believe deeply in this campaign and will endeavour to continue his work through my own networks. Truly a man of high regard in my life and a man I will not forget.

— Luke Foreman

John has been an inspiration to me personally, and to all the crew at Byrrill Creek, Tweed Shire, where John stood with us & represented us for many years during the No Dam at Byrrill Creek Campaign.When this issue raised its head again last year he was there again to lend his support & to reiterate that there are plenty of sustainable solutions reusing water that should be pursued first before damming the highest riparian conservation area in this shire. Thank you John for all of your tireless work in the many causes you stood up for over the years. May the long time sun shine upon you, all love surround you, and the pure light within you guide your way home.

— Joanna Gardner

As one of the early founders of the green party movement, I was always very conscious about the integrity of those then building the movement and establishing The Greens as a vibrant political presence that stayed reasonably close to its honourable roots. John kept the faith, managed the dilemma of being an honest Green maintaining his integrity while effectively operating in the toxic environment of parliamentary nastiness. I met him several times and enjoyed his easy manner and intellectual prowess. A sad loss of a special person.

— Dr Stephen Brigham

Thank you for your wonderful support of Public Education and your ongoing quest for equality. Your name will always be the example of integrity.

— Will Constable

A brilliant politician, always across the brief, both intellectually and morally.  I loved that mischievous grin.

— Kerry Brown

The world is a better place from having John tread lightly upon it. His integrity and  commitmment to values the Greens hold dearly are such an inspiration for us all. We are so very fortunate to have had his representation and to have benefited from his generosity.  

— Suzanne Taylor

John, you may have left us but your work, commitment  and belief for a better world for us and our children will live forever. Thank you for your efforts, you will always remain in Australia’s history as one of the few who was prepared to give everything for the betterment of man, so few can claim. I pray you rest in peace.

— Tony O'Hanlon

I will dearly miss John as a friend, inspiration and the hope in humanity he gave me. John had done so much but had so much more to give.

— Glenn Findley

John was a fantastic campaigner. I used to get these ideas on what the greens should be doing to raise our political profile. He always managed to bring me back to ground. He always said he commended my passion. I can't believe he is gone it is still very hard to get my head around. The party will miss him greatly. RIP mate.

— Daniel Taylor

I met John as a member of Lake Macquarie Greens. He immediately became a real hero in my eyes. After he spoke to our group I asked him a few questions about our state's energy needs. He explained things to me so clearly and patiently. I was so impressed by his ability to explain complex matters in plain English. Our conversation continued and I was struck by his personal honesty and humility... I was so incredibly impressed by this man. I felt so proud that he was a Greens MP. If only he was PM instead of MP! I was devastated to learn of his illness. Though I didn't get to know him, my meeting with John immediately made me feel as though he was a friend. I'm grieving his loss in a way that I would never normally grieve for a public figure. For us to lose someone of John's calibre, such a fine human being, in political terms, is itself a tragedy.   My heart goes out to Lyn and to all of John's loved ones. Rest in Peace, dear John.

— Julie Castles

It was always a pleasure to have John stay and campaign in the South Coast.  I remember a Clean Energy for Eternity meeting in Moruya when it was raining cats and dogs complete with thunder and lightening but still there was literally standing room only at this public meeting in the biggest hall in town. That was when people believed in climate action it seemed.  Many people commented on how John just explained it all so clearly and logically. There were many other times when he came south in support of TAFE and Trees and many more visits on Climate action. We have to win soon in honour of John. With sympathy to Lynne and all family, friends and fellow campaigners.

— Margaret Perger

John was an amazing bloke, affable and always up for a chat on topic at hand.I admire his honesty, commitment and drive for all he fought for. Whether it was his amazing efforts regarding g the Tillegra dam which he was instrumental in stopping.His support for the protection of water on the Central Coast. John was an eloquent and passionate speaker whether it was at one of the many rallies I saw him at, community meetings,election forums or on the floor of the NSW house we waved his magic in. You will be sadly missed by all who you gave a voice to, and your causes and fight for a sustainable, just society will continue. R.I.P

— Mark Ellis

John came to Mullumbimby and explained renewable energy so clearly and well, then again came when our hospital was in trouble. He was engaging, warm and very knowledgeable. What a loss to us all, what a Bhoddisatva of compassion and intellect. Love and gratitude to John and his family, a life not lived in vain.

— Liz Elliott

Goodbye, John, you were a delight to meet and will long remain an inspiration. We Greens are fortunate to have politicians who, like you, have breadth of vision, combined with an honest, inquiring intellect, not to mention warmth and humour. The Greens and the nation will miss you enormously.

— Susan McClean

John's commitment to fight for a more just and sustainable world was unwavering. He was also generous and thoughtful, and as a younger activist I benefited from his wisdom and advice.  It was a great pleasure and privilege to have known and worked with John, he will be sorely missed.

— Georgia Miller

John was always there for me. As a new Greens councillor on Lake Macquarie I had so many questions! He always had the time to offer advice and guidance. I have so much respect for this man. I'll miss him, as will so many others. John stayed with us a couple of times in 2014/15 and a favourite memory I have is him being compliant with my request he wear tracksuit pants on our deck. I told him he needed to relax on the deck and to do that he needed to wear them. And he did! He complained that he felt underdressed but he did! And I think he did relax around the fire and had a nice night. I certainly did.

— Phillipa Parsons

Words that come to mind when I think of John Kaye. Integrity, Purpose, Passion. I am so lucky to have known you. You have been such an inspiration to me. I will miss you.

— Gabrielle Harding

As a TAFE employee John was our best friend and such a decent man of great intellect and understanding of the issues TAFE faces. His Upper House enquiry put many of the issues on the record. It's a tragic loss for us all and the community.

— Corinne Gaston

John showed us what political action can be, and should be: inspired by principle, passion for justice, and love for humanity, the earth and all living things.  He showed us the way forward.

— Brendan Doyle

I am deeply saddened by John's death. I witnessed his energy, extremely hard work and commitment when in Parliament. What I also valued was that despite all that hard work he always greeted everyone with such an open and enthusiastic smile and sense of interest in other people. My thoughts are with Lynne.

— Roslyn Rix

We have lost the NSW Greens No.1 ticket holder - and we are all the poorer for his passing. It was good to get to spend some time with him over the years and see him in action. Last time I saw him he worked out that we could provide accommodation for all the homeless people for the cost of one third of a new submarine. Imagine if we only built 11 - we would have spare for other ventures and worthy causes. I know the Greens will go from strength to strength and will always acknowledge his tremendous work. My very best wishes to his family and the Greens community.

— Duncan Wood

I met John Kaye at a Greens rally many years ago and was immediately struck by his gentle and affirming presence. After an all too brief chat we parted but meeting him left me with more resolve to speak up and support the Greens, a party that is made up of so many dedicated and principled people like John. I was shocked and saddened to hear of his death. May you rest in peace.

— Trevor Ockenden

Thanks John for all of your hard work for the people of NSW and the environment. Very grateful for your help in organising the talk by the Dalia Lama in State Parliament in 2013.  My grandmother praises your intelligence, kindness, energy when dealing with her and talking at Politics at the Pub. Thank you for being focused on progressive policies for NSW, but in a kind and intelligent and skillful manner.

— Michael Childs

John, each time I bumped into you I knew two things were going to happen: I was going to walk away better informed, and I was going to walk away inspired. Thanks so much for all you did and the way you did it. The battles you fought will all eventually be won through the efforts of those you inspired, and that is a great legacy.

— George Takacs

It was such a privilege to know you and to work with you. You assisted our local community group the No Tillegra Dam Group through many years of heart ache, hard work and final victory. A victory, not just for us, but for saving the Williams River (the only naturally flowing river in the Hunter left) common sense water use, future healthy environment, staring down a ridiculous, made up on a whim policy. You were tireless, set an almost impossibly high standard, guided us through the maze of parliamentary "call for papers", and kept our spirits high.

— Sally Corbett

A lovely man and a real inspiration.  John made me proud to be a member of the Greens.  A wonderful legacy of passion and commitment. He had tremendous energy and was always so busy but still new my name after meeting me once and even my kids - a special guy. Sadly missed but fondly remembered.

— Craig Christie

There are so few people who we meet in this life's journey who can inspire us.  But John was one of them. He was a person whose words and his actions were like light houses, showing us the way to follow our convictions and to act in accordance.  For me, as a relatively new Green, he was a politician who made me shake off my cynicism and realize that it was possible to be a politician and still be true to oneself.  He impressed me with his hard work, his commitment and his unfailing humility when speaking at the numerous events that he attended. Your passing is a loss to your family, our party and our state.  But you will be remembered for the good that you have done.

— Alice Mantel

Never wavering from the vision for a better, fairer, cleaner world, John Kaye was an enthusiastic, energetic and empathic man, a real life hero with little ego and enormous goals. Educating our tiny P & C about the Vinson Report findings in 2004, consulting my  8 yr old son about corflute preparation in 2007, running a health policy workshop ensuring equal voice to everyone in the room in 2011 and speaking in support at the Redfern Aboriginal Tent Embassy 2016. John was everywhere a NSW Green needed to be, always informed, passionate and willing to listen. This is the John Kaye I will remember. A respectful yet unrelenting elder statesman who fought fearlessly, selflessly and has left a legacy and clear path for others to follow.  The vision and energy of the John/Lynne partnership will leave an incandescent glow within the work of the NSW Greens for some time to come...

— Susan Jarnason

Where to pay proper tribute to a man who gave so much to public life, political debate and the Greens is beyond me.  My personal memories is a man who encouraged me to be heard and to contribute to the Greens efforts. He was always there, always willing to contribute to local group efforts.  His campaigns on privatisation, free range eggs and TAFE/public education particularly resonated with me and he did them so well - I never tired of hearing him speak through that megaphone that seemed to be a permanent extension of him at times!  Absolutely tireless. We will be a poorer community without him, but also richer in having him part of it for the time we had, we must continue to be inspired by his work. Thank you John. My heartfelt sympathy to Lynne, his family and close friends.

— Margaret Levin

If anyone can denounce the public funding of elite private schools with half as much passion and skill as John Kaye, they will also be a hero of mine. John was a great friend of public education and our planet. He will forever inspire us in our fight for justice.

— Catherine Turner

I am greatly saddened at the loss of John. He was a warm and friendly person who always had time for a chat every time we met.  His commitment to the environment and to the community was inspirational. He was immensely intelligent and could communicate his ideas in such a clear way. I really respected John and will continue to work on some of the issues he was passionate about like 100% Renewables, but I am just one person and some how John had the energy and efficiency to do the work of so many. John I have many lovely memories of you from dancing down Oxford St at the Mardi Gras to you and Lynne paddling in kayaks to an action rather than walking and so many more. What an amazing man. Sadly missed.

— Kylie Hitchen

John Kaye was one of the most inspiring people in my life. I first met him many years ago before he was a member of Parliament. His boundless enthusiasm and dedication to Greens Principles affected me greatly. Since then, he has visited the Bega Valley on many occasions, and every time I met him, I was just so impressed with the amount of energy he had. He was a wonderful, kind, thoughtful, quirky, clever man. I will miss him enormously. Sending much love to his partner Lynne, his family, and all who knew him. It's a sad time.

— Sylvie Mester

Thank you for your note re the death of John Kaye.  Most untimely. On the rare occasions that I spoke with him on air he was intelligent, thoughtful and relevant.  And to think that he could be diagnosed in February and pass away in May is an awful shock to everybody. Please pass on my deepest sympathy to your Party, his friends and his family.  My thoughts are with you all. With best wishes,

— Alan Jones AO

My condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of John Kaye. An incredible and inspiring politician who was truly working for the public interest. It would be fitting if the Packer Casino was forced to be moved back away from the foreshore at Barangaroo and the land to be opened up to the public as initially intended. I believe this would be in the public interest and the most appropriate name for such a park is the John Kaye Memorial Park.

— Sean

Please pass on my sympathies to the family of John Kaye. It is very sad news. John did great work in renewable energy. His making time to visit Dubbo was much appreciated.

— Matt Parmeter

John was such a joy to meet and campaign for justice with. His work so tireless to keep TAFE in public hands to serve the community will never be forgotten. John approached everything with honesty and integrity. Such a loss to his loved ones and the wider community.

— Kerry Stratton

John Kaye was the most incredible politician, as well as my friend.  He was smart, articulate, warm, accessible and tenacious in terms of supporting local communities with their issues.  We wouldn't have been able to win the fight against the unnecessary Tillegra Dam proposal without him. We will miss him dearly.

— Linda Bowden

JK was one of the most passionate and hardest working people I have ever worked with, or indeed met. He demanded a great deal of respect from his peers, colleagues and political foe alike. Yet this was not by his own design through hubris or arrogance, but by the genuine dedication and passion he showed for immensely important and difficult questions. No one ever doubted his good intentions, regardless of how wrong they thought he was. That is so very rare and it should be celebrated. JK could be an awkward fellow, but he was always affectionate and kind, and genuinely interested in other people's lives, their interests and their troubles. He showed me a great deal of kindness and was always willing to hear me out in the times that we were at odds. Perhaps most important of all, JK was willing and able to have a laugh at himself. A big belly laugh, not that odd nervous laugh he had. He was grounded. He did not value his own immense experience and knowledge as being of any more importance to that of anyone ele. To a young person joining the Greens that was very empowering, when in 2004 he brought me into the Greens party and inspired me to be politically engaged. He had a profound and lasting impact on my life that I will always be grateful for. I pay tribute to him and celebrate everything he contributed to the Greens, the community and the planet. My thoughts are with Lynne and his family, his close friends and colleagues. His passing is a great loss. Thank you JK and rest in peace.

— Peter Stahel


The Hawkesbury Teachers Association would like to offer our deepest condolences to Dr John Kaye's family and friends. We stand united in recognition of his untiring energy and dedication to public education, and his passionate commitment to defending vocational education. His voice will be greatly missed.

— Hawkesbury Teachers Association

I thought John was The most wonderful person, we loved him up here in Glen Innes. He had dinner at our house and it was like having a long lost family member turn up. His death has caused me great sadness, I cry at the drop a hat thinking about him. He did say he wanted to live here after meeting all of us and of course Mercurius was mentored by him. The Greens have lost a great man and so has our country. Much love to you all.

— Carol Sparks

John was an inspiration.  His capacity for understanding complex problems, for holding figures in his head and then explaining them in simple terms was enormous.  He was everywhere. He touched so many people. He kept to his values and was admired for it. He has left a big hole in our hearts and we will miss him greatly.  

— Janet Ellis

John only shook my hand once or twice, and wouldn't know who I was. Yet he stood for me so eloquently in a fashion that I could only imagine. He spoke a form of sense that was not only just, but contagious. My personal disaffection with politics would always be slightly moderated by his appearance on 7.30 (missing State to State) or any other news report of a lesser standard. No need for sound bites - just a properly, grammatically formed and argumentatively sound sentence. Just one sentence was all it took. I feel less secure in the State of NSW knowing that John is not there to defend me anymore. I can only thank him for protecting me thus far.

— Chris Bell

I have fond memories of John helping with election campaigns in Ballina. One photo shoot with my free range chooks (6 chooks to 14 acres!) was sabotaged by a local eagle doing a fly by and scaring all the chooks into hiding. John took time off his busy schedule to crawl in the bushes and help me to catch them. John was unique – a successful ethical politician. He was so kind to people and genuinely wanted to help them. What a huge loss to NSW and Australian politics. I marched beside John at an anti-CSG rally in Lismore. He spied a girl with a note book and pencil in the crowd. He went and talked to her - she was the reporter from the Northern Star. After giving her some quotes, we walked on and I saw the Northern Star photographer and pointed him out. John then talked him into taking his picture. The Northern Star report of the march featured John's picture and quotes! John's encouragement and advice will be missed by so many of us in local politics. His death has made me decide to put all of my energy into preventing cancer.

— Effie Ablett

On behalf of the University of Sydney Education Action Group I would like to pay respects John Kaye. John was a tireless education activist, standing up for TAFE,  public schools, and also against federal policies effecting university students. He was always happy to help out, he was not a platformer, he didn't do it for popularity or image, he did it because he cared. In 2012 John Kaye supported the campaign against staff cuts, in 2013 he stood on the Sydney University picket line with staff taking industrial action, in 2014 and 2015 he fought with us against fee deregulation, and most recently he spoke out against cuts to workers and alumni representation in the university Senate. Late last year when changes to the student start up scholarships were made he joined around 10 students at a snap speak-out at Tanya Plibersek's office. A loss to the campaign for a more just education system. You will be missed.

— Dylan Griffiths, University of Sydney Education Action Group

I was fortunate enough to meet John. His passion for public education inspired me to become a High School Teacher and help students achieve social justice and learn for their own enjoyment.

— James Halliburton

John was a true Renaissance man of the modern world.  John's campaigns for public education were informed by compassion for the less well-off; a brilliant intellectual mind capable of original research; the ability to communicate the complex without becoming trite and the personal warmth to build coalitions in every community.  He treated all with respect - the powerless and the powerful. He was persistent and principled. I saw John at work building his public education constituency from the early days. He became the fearless expert on funding. He said what some did not dare to say. He continued to expose privilege.  That John was an engineer by training meant that he could speak with authority on climate change and renewable energy. The range of portfolio responsibilities in which he made a difference and in a party of few resources shows. John's capacity to bridge different worlds. John is irreplaceable. I have been tremendously saddened by his death but energised to have known a truly principled and brilliant human being.  Every public education student is indebted to him.

— Sue Simpson

I was one of the early instigators of the Greens and we were very conscious of integrity & commitment to green principles. Along he came, good man, on the ball, a delight to have on board. Effective as an MP without resorting to the bullshit most of them do. Wonderful contribution to the planet & to our life. Good man, John.

— Steve Bringham

John had a profound impact on the work of The Ethics Centre – especially given the role that he played in helping to end 150 years of unjust discrimination against children not attending ‘scripture classes’ in NSW State Primary Schools. His death is a great loss to the people of NSW, especially at a time when governments continue to sacrifice the welfare of children as a ‘bargaining chip’ to secure other political ends.

— Simon Longstaff AO, St James Ethics Centre

I was devastated to learn of John's passing - to my mind, he has always seemed like the only politician willing to stand up for causes that were not 'popular' in the mainstream media but important nevertheless. I am truly saddened by his passing - he is irreplaceable. Rest in peace, John Kaye; the good are always called to God too soon.

— Veronica Lim

The world has lost a good man. Thank you so very much for fighting for the greyhounds. They are waiting for you in Heaven. You can rest in peace now.

— Musette Hood

John will always be the 'Star to our wandering Barques', his brilliance lighting up the way ahead - showing us the direction to take, and encouraging us not to falter.....

— Jan Davis

It was my first doorknocking. NSW 2011 state election and a blisteringly hot day in February in Johnson St Annandale. John was training me up. He let me have the "cool" side of the street, where the heat was merely ferocious instead of brain burningly-blistering. After half an hour he came across thte street covered in sweat, smiling and muttering "bloody newbies. I should've picked the other side."

— Jack Dempsey

I was deeply saddened to hear of John's oh-too-early death. I remember the first time I met him. He was greeting people onto a Greenpeace ship in Sydney Harbour. I was struck by what a polite and gentle man he was and I was amazed to see how he hung in their in the political mosh pit. For a man like that it must have taken huge determination and commitment to make a better world. I think he succeeded.

— Louise Egerton

I only met John a few times. Once at a local group meet, John gave an "off the cuff" rundown of how renewable energy can work in Australia. My only question to him was "wow! can you repeat that, so I can film it?" He was so eloquent, well informed and down to earth sensible in his delivery I was left wondering how anyone could not go along with his recommendations. I was deeply saddened to hear of his death as, despite our few meetings, I had grown very fond of him and comfortable in the knowledge The Greens had such a wonderful ambassador; it remains for us to honour his legacy.

— Rob Shield

Thank you John for all your support for the LGTIB communities.

— Bob Davis

I did not know, nor ever met John Kaye, but his death hit me like a punch.  How very sad and what a great loss to us all. My condolences to all who were close to him.

— Irene Wheatley

John generously gave so much of his time to support the community in their efforts to protect public assets such as Royal North Shore Hospital from ill considered proposals for the sale of hospital land. He was immediately on the front foot arguing for the need to retain the Hospital lands; unlike the Minister for Health under the NSW Liberal Government, Ms Jillian Skinner, MP, who was driven into a service entrance to avoid having to face the constituents of her electorate.

— Jennie Minifie

I met John Kaye a couple of times when he came to Newcastle for Greens meetings. As a former TAFE teacher and manager, I chatted to him about the disaster enveloping TAFE NSW as a result of changes by both Federal and State governments, most notably the Smart and Skilled debacle and the new LMBR computer system debacle. After the 2011 NSW election, when NSW Labor under John Robertson was having a bet each way about whether it supported the TAFE changes (which had been initiated by the Gillard government), John Kaye was the sole NSW MP who spoke up and defended TAFE. He was an inspiration to me, gave me hope, and after some years of John being a lone voice crying in the wilderness, NSW and Federal Labor seem to have finally come back to supporting TAFE. Thank you John. I'm just one more private citizen and Green out here missing you. RIP.

— Kevin Fell

My only experience with Mr Kaye was during a school captains' visit to the State Parliament House. However, in that brief encounter, I gained a great deal of respect and admiration for him. This respect was founded from the passion he expressed when describing his job and the difference he could make for the people of NSW; it stemmed from the way he spoke to us - a room full of adolescents - his speech not condescending nor rude, but gentle, intelligent and thoughtful. As I left Parliament that day, I was thankful for the time he generously donated to talk to us and dearly hoped that all politicians had the same level of integrity and passion for equality and public service as Mr John Kaye.

— Damian Gill

I came to know John in early days at the UNSW, then at the many ANZSES solar meetings over the years. I lost track of him while he was establishing his political career, but we reconnected after we came back from the USA in 2010. John was always engaging, positive, and totally committed moving to a more sensible technical and philosophical basis for human activity. I know he was very highly respected on the political world by those in all parties in NSW, and in his many appearances in the adversarial media he stood out as the calm voice making the best logical case. He was a huge asset for the NSW Greens, but will be missed far beyond the Greens membership.  Farewell John. You did your very best to guide us to a more principled place.

— David Mills

John was a wonderful man who was a great mentor to my late husband. They shared a name: my husband was also John Kaye. He ran as the greens candidate for the Upper Hunter electorate in the state election in early 2015. Dr John Kaye and my husband John Kaye shared many a laugh over the media confusion with their respective media releases. Great fun and working towards the same goals. My husband died from cancer in November 2015. I remember Dr John Kaye with great fondness.

— Kathleen Oldman

John was a great supporter of the environment and the arts. He opened a number of our shows to support our environmental issues and when we, the Williams River Valley Artists Project, produced a newspaper to protest the Tilegra dam, he put one in the mail boxes of every nsw parliamentarian. Vale John you are greatly missed.

— Noelene Lucas

John was an inspiration to us all. One of the most intelligent, articulate and committed people I have worked with. His passing is a great loss not only to Greens but to humanity.

— Ian Oxenford

When the Illawarra Greens were involved in a number of elections back to back in that momentous time when Michael Organ was elected to federal parliament, I recall button-holing John over some highly urgent issue which i was unhappy about.  John gave me his time, listened in such a calm and thoughtful way, gave me his wise counsel which was measured and diplomatic, to the effect 'Wait until after the election'. It sounds funny now, but at the time i felt completely heard and able to put it all away for later, and i was grateful to him, and am grateful still.  Thank you John.

— Frances Paterson

I was honoured to have met John on a number of occasions. He not only remembered my name, but knew a bit about me as a person, a nurse and a unionist. His intelligence, commitment, passion, belief, humanity and ethics gave me enormous hope for politics in NSW, for TAFE, education, aged care, health and for our climate. I can't profess to have known John well at all, yet I suspect his call to arms would be to mourn for the dead, but to fight for the living! Vale Dr John Kaye, MLC an all round good guy. Sadly missed. Never forgotten.

— Lisa Kremmer

I just loved the way John stood up for public schools. When all the other politicians would hedge their bets, and skirt around the facts, he was relentless in pointing out the inequity of the funding formula and the obscenity of the amount of money going to the wealthy schools. Thanks to his persistence I think the message is finally getting through.

— Kathy Gollan

What a beautiful being, inside out! What a fruitful life, albeit short, duly spent for the benefit of the country and humanity. John did all the good he was able to do, in all the places he was able to reach, at all the times he was able to afford. Why? Because to John Kaye, every life mattered: he valued the woman and the man, the animal and the plant, the air and the soil, the earth and the universe; every living thing was worth fighting for, worth dying for. They all say thank you! With them, I would like express my gratefulness.

— Joseph Sedjerari

Relentless but ever humorous and deliciously self deprecating! Solidarity with his family!

— John O'Brien

We will miss John Kaye so much. He was an extraordinary man. He was always there to listen to anyone. As a teacher in TAFE it was always so wonderful to hear his thoughts about what is happening to this great public education institution. I loved his speech to the AEU National Conference, Keep the E in TAFE. However I will never forget first meeting John at Mary Street Surrey Hills at one of the NSWTF Council meetings in 2003 and speaking to him about the exploitation of PTC teachers in TAFE. He found it unbelievable and asked if he could assist. He then attended with Lee Rhiannon a meeting of the Part time Casual TAFE teacher Special Interest Group. So many teachers turned up to the event and spoke about their work. he was able to understand what was being said and assisted the group to bring this to other politicians at a parliamentary briefing. This was the beginning of our successful fight to get pro rata pay and conditions for PTC TAFE teachers. Thank You John you changed the lives of so many people.

— Josie Keeley

John was a great inspiration & support to me during the 2013 Federal Election campaign. His wise words & commitment to The Greens policy & vision enabled me to be a confident candidate.  I really appreciated all the time & mentoring he gave to me & he was a great man. I will miss him xxx

— Desley Banks

Although we were only casual acquaintances, he made me feel that we were old friends. Although my contribution to the campaign was small, he made me feel a key player and inspired me to do more. His commitment, energy and integrity were a source of inspiration to all who knew him.

— Nicholas Best

I met John several times over the last couple of years, since I became Australian and joined the Greens. He often came to the Illawarra to support us on issues such as 100% renewables, TAFE, and the steel industry. He seemed to remember everyone. He had ideas. He listened. He was impressive in his ability and unassuming in his manner. A great loss.

— Anthea Gupta

My dream Prime minister is now gone and the world is now missing one of our greatest ambassadors of intelligent change!

— Richard Cooke

John spoke at Save our Tafe event in a local Northern Rivers pub a few years ago and I hauled along a couple of friends.  After hearing John speak and then talk to him after the event- they promptly resigned from the ALP and became Greens members.  I had lot of interactions with John at many events over the years and he was always passionate and committed about social justice- he was not interested in money or power- but empathy, compassion and equal rights for all.  John was incredibly knowledgable and intelligent. I lost a mentor and the Greens have lost a leader. Vale John.

— Aniko Papp

John recruited me to The Greens and almost immediately asked me to stand in the 1994 election for the seat of North Sydney. Although we didn't even have a branch in those early days, he was so persuasive I had to agree.  We remained friends from that time on.. I have admired him for so many reasons, but particularly for his campaigning for public education and renewable energy. He was indefatigable.

— Mervyn Murchie

John Kaye struck me as exceptional in a number of ways. I am very saddened by his early departure. He really was the best of the best.

— Bill Merkati