15 February 2018, MCG, Melbourne, Australia
Sally and Johnny were Michael's sister and brother. Johnny's speech is a great example of an ad-libbed eulogy. He's allowed us to include his handwritten notes to illustrate.
I’ll be quick as this is very much not my forte. Harry, Mikey and Johnny always have this bit covered. I’m the cheer squad and always just so proud.
We’re all here out of love and respect for Mikey.
He leaves a tremendous hole in our lives.
However, the overwhelming number of emotional and profound tributes has left me with two big hopes.
The first is that all of you who can pick up his baton, will do so.
I hope that many of you will be inspired by him, and then that you will inspire others, to do the stories often regarded as not very sexy.
Give voices to those who otherwise wouldn’t have one as Mikey did.
As Fergus Hunter said the world desperately needs more Michael Gordons.
Now more than ever.
Take his torch and keep it burning
My second wish is that those of you who are in a position to affect change will work together, and work really, really hard together, to right the wrongs that have so unbelievably become the norm.
Only a few weeks ago Mikey so proudly, so humbly and so beautifully accepted his Walkley award in the company of his colleagues.
He later told me he wished he’d thought to finish with this gesture of support for his friends, the men still on Manus.
That’s the essence of our brother.
And we loved him like crazy.
Go well darling Mikey.
G'day everyone, I'm Mikey's brother. And how lucky can one guy be to have Michael Gordon as your big brother? It's like one of those [lucky] things you look back at from when you were a kid, "Like crikey, I saw Bob Marley when I was 12 years old!"
But anyway, I'm going to throw these things on [reading glasses] and try and not howl like a mutt. Alright, welcome all, that's what I write down to start with, and what a tidal wave of goodwill.
Thanks every one of ya, hey Mark if you was looking through my eyes and just go, "giddy up" and thanks so much, so give yourselves a round of applause.
Okay here we go.
Mikey was a role model for humanity, but he was my role model as a kid. He taught me to surf, he was a top bloke, and he was much quieter than me, believe it or not. But you know what I always brought out that other side, a lot of people go, "Well, Michael, he's running on all twelve cylinders!".
Okay I've got two little things written down here. It says, "Police Rounds, Philip Island'
So when I was a kid, I'm learning to surf, I was just a youngster, right, and as you know Mikey was the journo and as a kid, he did it all [whole paper], but he used to do the police rounds. So I think it was something like a 2-11pm shift. So I'd get dropped in at flippin' Russell St., I don't know I'm like twelve or something, right? And Mikey goes, "You know, we can't split till eleven, so he's constantly on the beam, we got the police radios hummin' in the background and he was telling me, "Alright, it's a really big spoil - straight across the road there's the watch house. If you don't act like a kook, we can go over and use the coke machine." It was like ooooooh!
So anyways, when you're a kid right, nine o'clock, you feel like it's three in the morning right, so it's like 11 o'clock we finally get in the car, ready to go, and he goes, 'You know what, I'm tired, I've been working, we can't start the car right?" We had this little red Escort, right? So, I'm sitting next to him ... and the music would be pumpin' and then as you know he was a bit of a ... he loved his music so we had the killer music pumpin' down, but as a grommet I'm half on the nod, right? And he's trying to drive thinking 'if big man shuts up we gonna hit a tree' so it's a safety device to keep me awake.
So, I've just got a pair of shorts on, and Mikey would just go, "Bang!" and just give you the biggest slap on the flippin' thigh... and he goes, "how are the ham steaks now?"
We had some incredible surfs together and the thing is too big brothers normally bar you if you're like two weeks older ... he was six years older than me, but I was in the posse and that's why I'm mates with all this mob too.
Okay, the next story, [reads note] we gotta here, it says table tennis right? And Michael, he was like the most competitive fruitcake, right? So we had the table tennis at my joint and as he'd get more focused, because he might be like two points ahead, it's like 'don't get mad, get even.' But he sounded like flippin' Jackie Chan or something on flippin: "whaaaa, woo oo, kneyah," So even weeks after Michael had left, Harris and I'd look at each other as we walked through the corridor and just go, "kneyah!" - and we knew that was Michael's backspin right?
Okay, there's my two casual stories, okay [applause] No no, you're not out of jail yet! [laughter] Okay, back to the notes, here we go.
Birds of the same feather flock together and that's why his family are absolute legends and you know what? His mates - all flippin' legends. Everyone here, you're flippin' legends because you're part of our flippin' mob, right?
And even on that day where we lost Mikey, he was surrounded by legends. You know, these people were black belts of their field and I just wanna give them an ocean of thanks. There's one guy called Nathaniel, I've got him in my phone as "The Man," so let's just give him a round of applause for doing what he did.
I turn the page.
My aboriginal bras have told me their ancestors from The Dreamtime will guide Mike through his journey. Go well, my bra.