Kimberley Kitching’s husband says he has moved on and learned to forgive the ‘mean girls’ stories that plagued the Labor senator’s sudden death last year.
Mrs Kitching was just 52 when she died of a suspected heart attack in March 2022, sparking heartfelt tributes from all sides of politics.
Allegations emerged from those close to the late senator that he was mistreated by Labor colleagues while in Parliament and may have contributed to his ouster.
Mrs Kitching’s husband, Andrew Landrieu, addressed the alleged misconduct in a eulogy at her funeral when he referred to the ‘unpleasantness of a sensational cabal’ both inside and outside Parliament and that his wife ‘deserved so much better’.
Fellow Labor senators Christina Kennelly, Penny Wong and Katy Gallagher were identified as the ‘nasty girls’ who bullied Ms Kitching, forcing the trio to refute the claims in a joint statement.
About 18 months later, Mr. Landereau broke his silence on the story with a carefully considered answer when asked if he had learned to forgive.
Labor senator Kimberley Kitching died of a suspected heart attack aged just 52
‘I know that’s not an answer, but I think it’s really important that I apologise,’ he told Sky News host Andrew Bolt on Thursday night.
‘I have to fight it, and I work hard on it and work to focus on good positive things.’
‘The most important thing I can do to honor Kimberly’s legacy and her memory is to act the way she did, which is unfortunately not my first instinct.
After the funeral, Mr Landrieu traveled to Canberra to hear a condolence speech in Parliament, where he was touched by Senator Gallagher’s heartfelt words.
‘Katie Gallagher got up and spoke beautifully and said she had had a chance to reflect deeply on her relationship with Kimberley,’ he said.
‘I sat there, and I heard those words and I realized that was probably the closest to an apology that a public official could make in that situation, and I really, really respected that, and it resonated with me and helped me. . Not to advance a bit but try to act and act in line with Kimberley’s values.’
Labor senators Katy Gallagher, Christina Kennelly and Penny Wong were identified as ‘mean girls’ following the death of Kimberley Kitching.
Mr Landrieu also shared candid details about how he has been coping more than a year after his wife’s death and admitted it was often confronting.
‘I’m fine. Every day, I show up professionally and do what I need to do,’ he said.
‘But I sometimes feel like the mayor of Hiroshima, so obviously very confronting on many levels, not just the everyday practical stuff, and … the emptiness of it all.’
‘Also, I obviously have to struggle with how irrationally I feel about it, which is that I should have done a better job of protecting her.’
At her funeral, Mr Landrieu praised his wife’s political and moral judgment as ‘vastly superior to the few who internally opposed her’.
‘There is much I can say about the unpleasantness of a controversial cabal – they are not in Parliament – which was aimed at Kimba, and the severity of which confused and hurt him,’ he told mourners.
‘He deserves much, much better.’
Mr. Landrieu said he tries to honor his wife’s legacy by acting the way she did. Photo of the late Senator Kimberley Kitching
He described his wife’s death as ‘senseless and unjust’ and that he ‘would gladly switch places with her’.
“I will not blame any one person or any one meeting,” he said.
‘His friends and fiercely loyal staff are outraged at how he was treated. Of course they are.
‘And I have no quarrel with them about it. They know what they have seen with their own eyes.
Almost 18 months later, Mr. Landrieu stands by his complimentary comments that his wife deserves better.
‘I hope it suffices to say that he deserved much better,’ he said.
‘He was at once very brilliant, and wise, and stern but sensitive. I don’t think they had better people.’
‘Kimberly was a warrior who could stand up for herself, and she did, very forcefully.’
Andrew Landrieu delivered a powerful eulogy at his wife’s funeral in 2022 as he referred to the ‘unpleasantness of a contentious cabal’ both inside and outside Parliament.