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Linda Burney To Take Leave After Tragic Death Of Her Son

"I don’t know what life will be like without him."

Originally posted on
Updated on

Labor MP Linda Burney will take leave from parliament following the death of her son, Binni Kirkbright-Burney, last night in Sydney.

In a statement on Wednesday morning Burney, who is the federal member for Barton, said she had returned home to Sydney last night to "be with him this one last time".

"Binni is 33 years old. He is a caring and loving man," Burney said.

"He has struggled with mental health and with addiction. He tried so hard to conquer his demons, as I and my family have tried so hard to support him in every way we could. I don’t want to pre-empt subsequent inquiry but we all thought we were getting somewhere.

"I don’t know what life will be like without him."

NSW Police have advised Burney that the cause of death is yet to be determined, but there are no suspicious circumstances.

Burney asked for privacy, saying "When I can, I will speak about this".

"I understand I am a public figure but in this dire, grief-stricken time for me, I ask that you respect my and my family’s privacy in all respects."

Burney is Labor's human services spokesperson. She entered federal parliament in 2016 after over a decade in NSW state politics, becoming the first Aboriginal woman to be elected to the House of Representatives.

Burney's parliamentary colleagues offered condolences and support to Burney on Wednesday.

Labor leader Bill Shorten said: "I can't imagine what it's like as a parent to lose your child. I know how much her son loved Linda and how much Linda loved her son," he said.

Burney's portfolio opponent, human services minister Alan Tudge, said it is a "terrible tragedy for any family to lose a cherished child".

"My thoughts and prayers are with her and her family at this extremely sad time."

In a statement prior to Question Time, prime minister Malcolm Turnbull told the parliament he had spoken with Burney and expressed his "deep sadness" for her loss.

"As parents, our worse dread is the loss of a child. Linda’s loss is unspeakably sad," he said.

"She is not with us today, she has leave, but we are with her. We are all with her. In love and in heartfelt sympathy. She is cast deep in grief but she does not grieve alone. She is a strong woman. Stronger because of the love that all of us, the sympathy that all of us, share with her at this tragic time for her and for her family."

If you or someone you know needs help, you can call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Lane Sainty is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney, Australia.

Contact Lane Sainty at lane.sainty@buzzfeed.com.

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