Several prominent Australian politicians from across the political spectrum have paid tribute to Leif. We have collected some of their speeches and statements here:
Hon David Spiers MP (Liberal) - Leader of the Opposition - South Australian House of Assembly
Senator Peter Whish-Wilson (Greens) - Senator for Tasmania
Rebekha Sharkie MP (Centre Alliance) - Australian House of Representatives
Hon Tammy Franks MP (Greens) - South Australian Legislative Council
Hon Ben Carroll MP (Labor) - Minister for Roads and Road Safety - Victorian Legislative Assembly
A preventable tragedy. My thoughts are with Leif’s family. So young with so much to give - he lived by his convictions. Australia and the planet are so much poorer for his loss. https://t.co/3EQc1iuHkS
Memories of Leif from those who met him, knew him and loved him
"Leif was a true inspiration. His tragic passing has only further affirmed this in my mind. Not only did he have a pretty wicked sense of style, but a few years ago he showed great strength of character when he told a friend of mine (who was my ride home) not to drive while under the influence. I won't forget that. Leif didn't have to care, but he did. It can be hard to speak up in situations like that, but he did.
I wish I'd known Leif better but even more than that, I wish that those that did know him well had far more time with him than they got. I wish Leif got more time.
I know that Leif's enthusiasm will be remembered and embodied by all who knew him. And I will always be grateful for what I have learned from him."
"My boyfriend Nick and I lived with Leif at George street. He was absolutely one of a kind in the best way possible. Every single night he would ask "What was the highlight of your day?"...it always gave perspective to the day and to be grateful for the small things in life.
So smart, so passionate, so positive."
"I only met your son/brother very briefly, when he came to the Bob Brown Foundation's blockade camp in the takayna / Tarkine region of Tasmania in January. The memory that I wanted to share with you is when Leif politely asked a group of about 10 people for our attention, as were sitting and having individual conversations around the campfire. He went on to talk to us all about how we could take small steps to reduce our carbon footprint: divest our super, bank, and use 95 octane petrol instead of 91. I hadn't spoken to him before this point and remember being struck by the bravery and initiative it took to use such a casual setting to formally discuss a serious issue. I was also struck by how articulately and efficiently he explained the issue.
In the circles I spend time in, the immensity of environmental issues can be overwhelming, daunting, and therefore difficult to have a productive discussion about. This immensity of the issue can also make it difficult to give people hope and inspire people to make seemingly small and insignificant changes to their own lives in the hope of creating tangible large scale change. It can also be difficult as a speaker to appropriately handle the reaction of guilt that most audiences feel when the topic concerns their personal choices and the impact of these on the environment. And yet, in spite of all of this, Leif's speech left me feeling informed, inspired, hopeful, and with a deep sense of personal responsibility, but not of guilt. His actions really stood out to me in this way.
Based on these experiences and everything I have read about your son, I have no doubt his life and his passion has touched, and will go on to touch, an enormous number of people.
As just one person in this enormous sea of people, I want to say thank you for nurturing and supporting such a truly wonderful human being."
"I am not sure if you knew that Leif and I have been in regular contact (about weekly) for the best part of a year since meeting at an environmental discussion panel hosted by Power Living Yoga. At the end of the session Leif hung around and we spent a lot of time discussing my views on his MANY questions.
From then we have been Instagram mates, chatting regularly about his campaigns and talking about South Australia's leadership in so many aspects of environmental sustainability and conservation. I think it's fair to say from his many messages that he was shocked/surprised/amazed that a 'Liberal Government' could be delivering a progressive and internationally-leading environmental agenda, especially in the area of climate change policy and action. We would have debates, he had lots of questions (so many questions!), but I have to say I was pretty stoked when he said in a couple of his messages:
'For national parks State Liberal have been BOSS' and... 'Pretty stoked to have you and the liberal government as every other state seems to be heartbreaking in their efforts to burn the planet. Thank goodness that SA is decent.'
Leif and I had been trying to arrange a time for him to interview me for an Instagram video series he was due to make, but my diary is chaotic and we just didn't get around to it. My heart is heavy that I didn't make it a priority. I guess I didn't have a crystal ball as to what the future would hold, but it still leaves me feeling very sad. Our last messages, exchanged last week, were arranging a kayaking catch up on Myponga Reservoir when he got back from his trip...
He was a hero and a leader. I am very keen to pay tribute to him in due course and will make a statement about him in Parliament in the coming weeks."
Hon David Speirs MP
Minister for Environment and Water
"The previous day, about an hour after we had set off we came across a cyclist coming in the opposite direction. We stopped and chatted to this lovely young man who was cycling around Australia to educate people about the differences they can make for climate action particularly by changing their banks and super funds to those who do not support fossil fuel investment. His passion shone through, even in our brief meeting.
We said our goodbyes and made our way to Caiguna for breakfast and a rendezvous with some other cyclists. Sitting there, the manager came over and told us that a lone cyclist had been hit and killed by a truck. It was the beautiful young man - Leif, whom we had met. We were deeply shocked, heartbroken and utterly devastated that this man, full of life, passion and vitality, in an instant had been taken from this world. Many tears were shed, sitting there rocked to our core."
"The second time we ever hung out we went tree planting in Middleton then spent the day south at the skate park. Then we went to Jackie's house and had tea with Jackie and Helen. He was always so playful and spontaneous. I have so many memories to think about and laugh about and for that I am grateful.
Our last meeting only a couple weeks ago was the most grounding for me. We hadn't seen each other for two months and we went for a drive like we always did. So excited about our futures and so much shared loved and respect. I feel so grateful knowing he has passed knowing how much I adore and care for him, something shared with so many. I will always remember him and vow to carry his message and passion through my life"
"My wife and I met Leif a few days earlier, near Nullabor Roadhouse as we cycled East. We stopped and chatted for what seemed ages. We were both struck by his passion for life and the environment as well as his positivity and enthusiasm. It is such a tragedy that his life has been cut so short. He touched our lives in this brief encounter and has brought a sense of sadness that will hold him in our memories"
"My wife Jenny and I met Leif and his partner at the Tarkine blockade camp in Tasmania in January. I don't think I have ever met a more impressive, likeable, wonderful young man as Leif.
We arranged to meet him in WA after his ride across the Nullarbor. He texted me 2 weeks ago to say he hoped to be in Esperance by next week. We were sitting in Hopetoun last night telling people we had met about Leif, and how we were hoping to see him in Esperance next week, and help him in any way we could. They told us the terrible news. We are utterly devastated. I cannot imagine the the extent of your heartbreak, and no words will suffice to console you. But please know that you raised an amazing young man who has left a huge impression on us. We will continue to fight against fossil fuels with a new passion, inspired by Leif. He died living his dream, but I won't pretend that is good... we all wish he was living, living his dream."
"I had a rule that I would only post nature photos on my Instagram account. Rules sometimes have to be broken. This is Leif. He died tragically on Tuesday when he was hit by a road train on the Nullabor. He was cycling around Australia asking everyone he met to change their super fund and banks. To chose super funds that invest in renewable energy, regenerative farming and ethical investments.
Leif was just 21. He was a mentor to my son, always generous with praise and his time. He lived life to its fullest. He followed his convictions with a cheeky smile that brought out the best in us all. In Leif's honour please change your super or ask your current fund to divest from fossil fuels. A community is heartbroken. We can't bring Leif back but we can do our best to carry on his mission"