ForeverMissed

Originally from the rural property “Terrawinda” near Coonabarabran, NSW, Stephen was loving and loved. An adventurer with many stories, his step-daughters Kirsty and Marnie invite you to share your story about Stephen, read other’s or leave a message.  

Forever Missed - Forever Remembered

Posted by Anthony Kirk on February 21, 2019
A message From Kirsty and Marnie to Steven
We’re not ready for goodbye,
Nor so long or see you later.
Not ready for the end,
Not ready for this reality.
We’re not ready for this life,
one without you in it.
We’re not ready for your goodbye.
With the treatment stopped,
we kept you as comfortable as can be
the next two days slowly drifted by, and
all that we could do was hold your hand and cry.
For here is this man
the strongest man we knew
and we couldn't figure out how we’d survive this world without you.
we'll miss you more and more each day
no matter what we do
the world is a far lonelier place without you.
We wish we could've seen you; that morning when you left,
Told you, you were our hero and that you were the best.
We’re not going to say good-bye
or that we can't go on
We'll say thank you and we love you, and see you later on.

Leave a Tribute

 
Recent Tributes
Posted by Anthony Kirk on February 21, 2019
A message From Kirsty and Marnie to Steven
We’re not ready for goodbye,
Nor so long or see you later.
Not ready for the end,
Not ready for this reality.
We’re not ready for this life,
one without you in it.
We’re not ready for your goodbye.
With the treatment stopped,
we kept you as comfortable as can be
the next two days slowly drifted by, and
all that we could do was hold your hand and cry.
For here is this man
the strongest man we knew
and we couldn't figure out how we’d survive this world without you.
we'll miss you more and more each day
no matter what we do
the world is a far lonelier place without you.
We wish we could've seen you; that morning when you left,
Told you, you were our hero and that you were the best.
We’re not going to say good-bye
or that we can't go on
We'll say thank you and we love you, and see you later on.
his Life

Stephen's Eulogy (Delivered by Greg Holland - 21 Feb 19)

On behalf of Barbara, Marni, Kirsty and Gennie, it is a great honour and privilege to share with you this eulogy of the life and times of Stephen Carney, what he meant to me to all of us and the legacy that he leaves us.  
 
I hope and I trust that this short testimony reflects all our feelings and memories of Steve – and if they don’t, I’m sure that you’ll tell me later at the National Press Club or in the days and months ahead.
 
My name is Greg Holland.  Stephen Carney was my friend for 37 years and, like many of us here and who could not be here, he became my mentor.
 
I don’t’ think that it would surprise any of you to learn that I first met Steve in a bar – in the Non-Members’ Bar of Old Parliament House in 1982.  
 
A strange meeting of me - a young New South Wales Labor Party full time university student working as a drink waiter in Parliament House and Steve - a youngish National Party veteran and even then, a successful and savvy lobbyist and a political and business operative.  
 
At those early meetings with Steve, there was something of a quality – an aura even – of this friendly, worldly man who made an immediate impression on me.
 
Steve regaled me with stories of his past – some of which I suspected were tall tales rather than true tales, but over the years, I came to know that these stories were indeed true.  I learnt that I was fortunate to have been befriended by a man of honesty, integrity and authenticity, tough and tender, jokey and serious, concentrated energy in support of great causes.
 
Stephen was born on 5th of October 1942 in Coonabarabran NSW.  His parents had a sheep and wheat property named “Terrawinda” just outside Coonabarabran.  Steve was the fifth child of six, third son of four. 
 
When his mother, Benita O’Rourke accepted his father, Arthur Carney’s proposal of marriage she made it a condition that any children they had would be educated in Sydney. 
 
This promise was honoured, even when conditions for farmers were hard. 
 
Arthur and Benita made significant sacrifices to send their children to boarding schools - Our Lady of Mercy College in Parramatta for the girls and St Joseph’s Hunters Hill or St Patrick’s Strathfield for the boys. 
 
Steve went off to All Hallows’ in Bathurst at the age of 6 before he went to Joeys a few years later. 
 
He recalled catching the train in the middle of the night as a great adventure for a young boy. 
 
He loved the camaraderie of boarding school and loved even more the long hot summers at home helping with the harvest, driving tractors from a young age and palling up with shearers and listening to their tall tales. 
 
The Carney family was very conscious of the wider world. 
 
Arthur was unusual amongst the farmers of the district in that he had the Sydney Morning Herald delivered every day - it came by train from Sydney.  It was a day late, but he wanted more news than was in the local paper.  The radio was always tuned to the ABC.  The family were all readers, and Steve got his love of poetry and history from his father.  There were sing songs around the piano. 
 
Steve did the Leaving Certificate in 1958 when he had just turned 16.  He then went to Sydney Teachers College for the standard two-year course.  He had a real exposure to classical music then through music appreciation classes, beginning his lifelong love of music. He began teaching high school English and French at the age of 18 at Belmore Boys’ High – which was known at the time as Long Bay Prep. 
 
Steve then taught in West Wyalong, a very happy time, playing football, tennis and golf and as expected of a Joey’s boy, very active in the social life in the district. 
 
Steve never envisaged being a career teacher, so he moved back to Sydney, worked as a builder’s labourer for his brother-in-law Rex, Genny’s husband, drove the taxi Rex had and cleaned cars at night. 
 
He saved up enough for a one-way ticket by ship to Europe.  Actually, the voyage was to London, but Steve only had enough money to get to Genoa, where he disembarked in 1966 with exactly $50, his entire fortune, in his pocket.  He said he was so wet behind the ears that even the criminals who controlled the Genoa market, where he got a job as a porter, took pity on him and warned him against “bad men” who would steal from him, or worse. 
 
Steve then hitch hiked through Europe, arriving in London, where he lived for a few months.  He worked as a relief teacher saving up enough to go to Montreal with a few friends he had met.
 
He loved Montreal and Canada and always spoke of the adventures he had there. Steve talked his way into an excellent job as the editor of a daily French-English newspaper for the construction sector where he started writing and having articles published in magazines. 
 
Now this is where some of those magnificent stories of come into play.  
 
Steve met and drank with a small-time band called Creedence Clearwater Revival in his local bar.   Here he met his lifelong friend, Ian Macintosh, who is here today.
 
The story goes that while Steve was living and working as a journalist in Montreal, he talked his way into one of the famous John Lennon and Yoko Ono “bed ins” in their hotel room.   After all the photos had been taken, John Lennon ordered all the journalists and photographers out of the room so that he and Yoko could record “Give Peace a Chance”.  
 
Steve and his intrepid photographer hid in the bathroom until the recording started and then just slinked back into the room to join in.
 
So, the next time that you hear “Give Peace a Chance” you’ll hear the Montreal chapter of the Hare Krishnas plus one Stephen Carney as the backing singers. 
 
If that wasn’t enough, Steve went to the Woodstock Festival, which he remembered as an amazing long concert in the mud, with interesting sanitary arrangements. 
 
Steve returned to Australia in early 1970’s working as in-house PR for Jack Davenport of Monier Products.  Here, he introduced the first crock pot to Australia. 
 
At around this time Steve met Don Chipp, a Shadow Minister in Malcolm Fraser’s Opposition.   Steve worked full time on Chipp’s campaign during the post-dismissal 1975 election.  Chipp had been appointed a Minister in in Fraser’s first Ministry which had been sworn in on Whitlam’s dismissal, with the understanding he’d go on to Chipp’s Ministerial staff if the Coalition won the election.   Well, the Coalition had a thumping victory and Fraser, sensing the opportunity to rid himself of the troublesome Chipp, dropped him from his new Ministry.  Stephen didn’t get his job and Chipp then went onto form the Australian Democrats.
 
Just after the 1975 election, political fate intervened when Steve met Ian Sinclair, then Deputy Leader of the Country Party, at a cocktail party.  Ian offered Steve the job as his Principal Private Secretary.  Steve was given three minutes to decide.  He of course said yes, and he arrived in his new home of Canberra early in 1976. 
 
Steve with his worldly experience and charm set about as a formidable force in Ian’s office mastering parliamentary tactics and ingratiating himself into the then Country Party.  
 
Steve loved parliamentary life and in it he made lifelong friends.  It was through Steve’s sense of decency and his acceptance and acknowledgment of everyone across the political divide, within the fourth estate, with ComCar drivers, attendants and cleaners that Steve became a very well-known and well-liked man about the House.
 
Leveraging off his political experience gained under Ian, Stephen established Carney Associates in 1979 – 40 years ago on 1st February this year.  Over those 40 years Stephen has advised, supported and represented many clients in the federal political arena.  Indeed, Carney Associates remains one of Australia's longest established independent government relations consultancies. 
 
Through calm determination, Stephen earned wide respect for his professionalism and success rate during the Fraser, Hawke, Keating, Howard, Rudd, Gillard, Abbott, Turnbull and Morrison governments. 
 
Perhaps a distinguishing and endearing feature of Stephens approach to his work was his ability to build a friendly respect in informal settings.  He was not called “Cardinal Chop” for nothing.
 
This informal philosophy was underscored with one special rule: No fingerprints on the glass and no footprints in the sand.  
 
Steve felt his presence in negotiations did not warrant ceremony or fanfare.  Alas, while there are no know fingerprints on the glass or footprints in the sand, Steven did leave a trace of his presence by way of exemplary reputation.    
 
Stephen had a charming way of finding common, respectful ground where all parties were at ease.   To balance the ledger, however, it is worth noting that it wasn’t all games doing business with Stephen.  In the eighties one of Stephens foreign clients was in Australia tendering for the contract to build Australia’s next fleet of submarines.  To further develop the client/lobbyist relationship Stephen invited the client, and his family, to Christmas lunch.  
 
Now of course, two families generate a lot of washing up, however, Stephen succeeded in convincing his client to assist him with the installation of the dishwasher that had sat idle in the kitchen since purchase.  
 
 
Over the past 40 years, Stephen provided strategic government relations advice to some of Australia’s largest companies and institutions in sectors ranging from defence, transport and aviation through to telecommunications, media, banking, medical research and higher education.
 
But it was also away from Parliament House that Steve showed great generosity and camaraderie as he opened up his house and his family by having notoriously long lunches and weekends at Spring Creek where Steve and his partner Virginia had become local identities in the Yass and Murrenbatman district.  
 
It was during this time that Virginia’s daughters, Marnie and Kirsty became his step daughters.  It is no secret that Steve loved Kirsty and Marnie as his own, whom he’d known since they were young girls.  He never wanted to be their Dad, but to be there to care, nurture and protect them in their many achievements.
 
Kirsty became the long-time office manager and steward of the books of Carney Associates, with the added role of interior design consultant, and Marnie as an award-winning staff trainer for the Hyatt Hotel in Canberra, who moved into the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.  Steve also had a great relationship and admired Marnie’s husband Anthony, a serving army officer.  Steve was very proud to walk Marnie down the aisle with her mother Virginia at Anthony and Marnie’s wedding.
 
You will all have a story to tell of the hospitality that Steve showed and enjoyed with each and every one of us and time does not permit to regale you with some of the greatest times of our lives – or certainly of mine.  But I’m confident that you’ll share them this afternoon at the Press Club following this service.
 
I asked Barbara to encapsulate the defining traits of Stephen.  And I have to say, that Barbara and Steve were soulmates.  They just “got” each other.  They had recently bought a property at Coolemore for their retirement and Steve was very much looking forward to that.
 
Barbara said that the defining traits of Stephen were compassion and kindness, courtesy, breadth of intellectual interests, independence, strategic thinking, ability par excellence as he always walked 360 degrees around a problem before forming an opinion, patience, lack of prejudice, lack of sentimentality and a distaste for populism, sharp but never cruel sense of humour, love of the landscape, love of music, travel and thoroughbred horses.  
 
Steve’s horses were of course the love of his life.  He named them all after his parliamentary and lobbying profession.  His first horse he named Posh Polly followed by Lobby, which he once tipped in a race in Sydney to Bob Hawke.  When Lobby did win, Hawkie was ecstatic,
ringing Steve at the racecourse and say saying “mate, that was bloody fantastic, I’ve won a bucket load of money on that horse” – or words to that effect.  His other horses were Lock the Doors, Ring the Bells and First Reading which won at its last start.  He also proudly raced Terrawinda, named after the property on which he was born.
 
As I said, Steve became my mentor.  He encouraged me to mix with all sides of politics, and to be accepting of their opinions.  He invited me, when I became a staffer in the Hawke Government, into his inner sanctum.  He introduced me to the doyens of the press gallery, leaders of industry and legendary Prime Ministerial and Ministerial advisers, many of whom are here today.  
 
Steve immersed himself in his profession with the ability of a person who believed in the development of public policy, of good government, of seeing the merits and faults of an issue and utilising all parties to arrive at a sensible conclusion.  Steve honoured the parliamentary process and believed that lobbying was an essential part of the political process.  
 
Steve practised the art of statecraft, which Margaret Thatcher in her book, titled Statecraft, described as the art of skilful management in state affairs.  And Stephen was the master of statesmanship.
 
I had the opportunity to sit with Steve in hospital last Thursday.  He was unresponsive, but Barbara and I were fairly confident that he could hear me talking to him.  I sat with him alone, held his hand and thanked him for the times that we had together and for everything he had taught me.  I complied with him, very confidently, the names of the 9 Prime Ministers with whom he worked.  I then rattled off the names of the Country and National Party Leaders with whom he had also worked – all 8 of them.  
 
Later in the day after I had I left him, I checked on my calculations and realised that there had been actually 9 Country and National Party Leaders.   Whom had I forgotten, I asked?   When I realised my error, I envisaged that if Steve could have responded to me while I sat with him, he would have turned to me and with that cheeky grin would have said, “Greggie, how could you have forgotten Charles Blunt!”.
 
When I returned to Parliament House after visiting him, I saw images of Steve throughout the House – at Aussies, in the Ministerial Wing, outside the National Party room.  When I visited the Press Club later, I saw a vison of him reflected in a window.  These images proved to me that whilst he has left us, no matter where we go or what we do, he will always be watching over us – and I truly believe that.
 
Here lies a good and decent man who dedicated his life to working with and serving others, and he did so with civility, charm and humility. 
 
I don’t know if Stephen was a great fan of Mother Teresa but believe it or not, she carried a business card and on the back of that card were the words: The fruit of silence is prayer; The fruit of prayer is faith; The fruit of faith is love; The fruit of love is service; The fruit of service is peace.
 
Stephen’s sharp intellect and commitment to his profession was an inspiration to those who worked with him and for those who benefited from his advocacy.  We will treasure the memory of this lion who was deeply loved and respected by his family, friends and colleagues.
 
And now as we say our final farewell, we invoke the angels of the Lord to receive his soul and present him to God the most high.  
 
Stephen, good and faithful servant of the Lord, you haves run your race, you have fought the good fight.  May you rest in Peace. Amen

Recent stories

Widely Red (Or Read [Interrobang])

Shared by Anthony Kirk on February 19, 2019

Steve’s occupation as a lobbyist coupled with his venture into wine production provided an opportunity he couldn’t resist.  He embarked on a quest to produce a wine that captured the unique idiom forged by the relationship between Canberra’s politicians and the federal press gallery; a tricky endeavour.  With wine maker Ken Helm and Steve’s tongue-in-cheek humour, Widely Red was born.  While its imbibement and satirical reference were a source of much delight, a certain satisfaction also emanated from the knowledge that this one-off release was a philanthropic endeavour.  Today, carefully stored at its point of origin, only one bottle is known to exist.

Turning Left with Rex

Shared by Anthony Kirk on February 19, 2019

Ever the explorer, Steven felt the need to embark on a short adventure every couple of years.  Accompanied by his brother in law, Rex Porter, the intrepid duo had a single exploration philosophy; Turn Left at the Darling River and follow it down a bit.  It was a simple plan that yielded much discovery, adventure and stories to tell.  An avid reader, however, Stephen was unimpressed with the lighting at many of the hotels, motels, inns, sheds and campsites; a circumstance brought on by proprietor's keeping costs down by using 25-watt light globes.  To overcome this dim predicament, Stephen carried with him his own 100-watt light globe that he installed on arrival and took upon checkout.