Member’s Statement: Jegarajasegaram ‘John’ Pathinathan

Ms D’AMBROSIO (Mill Park—Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Minister for Solar Homes) (Thursday, 18 February 2021) (09:40): I rise to honour the life of Jegarajasegaram Pathinathan, a very dear friend of mine and an inspiring community leader in the Tamil community. He passed away late last month, aged 77. Also known as John, he was born in Uduvil near Jaffna, Sri Lanka, and came to Australia with his wife and three children in 1984. The decision to come to Australia was forced upon him due to the civil war that erupted in his homeland in 1983. He worked as a quarantine officer at Melbourne Airport until he retired.

As if raising a young family in a new country was not enough of a task, John’s community spirit and caring nature did not allow him to only do that. He got involved with the Tamil community with the sole purpose of helping those in need. He founded and presided over the Tamil Catholic Association of Victoria and through his life volunteered his services in many charitable organisations. After his retirement, he founded and presided over the Tamil Seniors Social Club, a community group that to this day supports elderly Tamil Australians in the northern suburbs of Melbourne, including in my electorate of Mill Park. Days after the devastation caused by the tsunami in Sri Lanka, John established the Consortium of Tamil Associations to raise funds from the Premier’s tsunami fund, Caritas Australia and others to assist in his homeland’s reconstruction efforts. He raised enough money to build the Vic-Jaf Fishnet factory in Jaffna, Sri Lanka. To this day, this factory provides employment to the war-affected people, including women, and stands as a testament to John’s passion in supporting those in need. He was awarded an Order of Australia Medal in 2007. I thank him for being an amazing human being, and my sincere condolences to his family.