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Tragedy fuels action: Jonty Bush to speak

SPEAKER: Jonty Bush is a fighter and an inspiration.
SPEAKER: Jonty Bush is a fighter and an inspiration.

JONTY Bush had lived through more tragedy by the time she was 21 than some people do in their lifetime.

The 2009 Young Australian of the Year, now 35, will be the guest speaker at Fraser Island's biannual Long Lunch event, at Kingfisher Bay Resort on Friday.

Jonty pioneered the One Punch Can Kill educational campaign and started advocating for victims of violence after the death of her sister and her father in 2000.

Her sister Jacinta, 19, was stabbed 41 times during a domestic violence incident, leaving behind her young daughter from a previous relationship. Her killer, Kris Slade, was eventually found guilty of her murder.

A few months after Jacinta's death, Jonty's father, Rob, took Jacinta's baby daughter to see the little girl's father, Luke Paterson, at his home.

Custody arrangements between the families had been tense since Jacinta's death.

An altercation ensued and Luke's brother, Travis Paterson, punched Jonty's father twice and he was knocked down a set of stairs.

Rob was left in a coma and, with no hope of recovery, the family had no choice but to turn off the machines keeping him alive.

Paterson was later acquitted of manslaughter, leading Jonty to fight for law reform and, through the One Punch Can Kill campaign, spread the message about the dangers of violence.

Now, 14 years on, Jonty continues to advocate for victims and survivors of violence.




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