Vale Michael Arnold 1975-2011

Michael Arnold on right.

Michael Arnold was born in country Victoria. He became politically active in Perth when he was 15. This was when he joined the socialist youth organisation Resistance and the Democratic Socialist Party.

When he was in his twenties, Arnold became active in the Harm Reduction Movement. He set up Rave Safe in Melbourne in the 1990s and produced a magazine called Flying Frequencies for the Harm Reduction Movement.

Arnold was also active in community radio, producing a program for Harm Reduction on 3CR Community Radio, and being a DJ on PBS.

Politics and music were Arnold’s great love. He politicised his friends and family and maintained a strong interest in left-wing politics throughout his life.

Michael Arnold was well-loved and respected by friends and family. His politics and passion will be greatly missed.


I was in Resistance at the same time as Michael and continued to bump into him over the years, most recently when he helped out Socialist Alliance election campaigns on polling day a few times. I didn't know him well in Resistance because we were in different branches. What I do remember was how he always had a gentle smile for friends and his quiet way he would show up to help out without complaint. It's really sad to hear this news.
Ben Courtice

I was just told that Sue Bolton had written about Mike in Green Left so have just read it. Thank you Sue.
I am very proud to have had Mike in my life for 35 years. He was so very interested and passionate about politics and tried in whatever way he could to work for the oppressed and disadvantaged.
As Sue mentioned he had become politically active at a very early age and even before he went to Perth he had been to many demos in Melbourne, even though I thought he was at school!
It was just before the first Gulf War in 1990 that he really became active.He went to Sydney for ten weeks at the Party school just before he went to Perth.As a mother of a 15 yo I tried desperately to keep him at home to finish his education. In the end I knew that this was something he was going to do, with or without my permission. I realised at the time I had to allow him to follow his passion or lose him. I could never lose him and so he went and loved every minute of it.
Over the years I have met and loved many of his friends who shared his interests and his passions. Indeed, there were times when I carefully stepped over sleeping comrades who stayed at our home during conferences in Melbourne.
He was also adamant that users of illicit drugs should be protected, and so his belief in harm reduction was something he worked on for several years.
I loved our chats about the many subjects he studied so deeply.
His death has been a nightmare for me and his family.He collapsed and died very suddenly at home on March 17, 2011. A post mortem was done in Bendigo, Vic was inconclusive as to the cause of death, so we are awaiting results of further testing by the Coroner in Melbourne. Results may not be ready for another couple of months.Mike was living with me at the time so it has been an horrendous time and one I will not recover from for many years, if at all.
We had a private cremation for him and have spread his ashes at a lake he loved.There he has the bush, the lake and many types of birdlife that he loved so much.
I sincerely apologise to his many friends who I know would have wished for a public memorial. It was something I could not face, but hope that his friends all over Australia have thought of him and remembered him for all his wonderful traits. I have received many calls from his friends and although most of the time is spent with me crying for most of the call, I have treasured them all.
Thank you all for being a part of Michael's life. I will never forget how much he loved you all.
Michael was my son, my dear friend and my educator and I loved him so much more than I can express. Jill Arnold.

Thank you to Sue Bolton for writing this tribute to Michael Arnold and to Jill Arnold for fleshing out unanswered questions. I remember being in awe of Michael's theoretical confidence, and quiet activist determination when I first met him in Melbourne. He thought deeply and seriously about the world's problems, and was an inspiration to me. It is a tragedy he died so young. I remember him with respect, and admiration. It was very upsetting to read of his death. Heartfelt solidarity to all his family and friends.
Rachel Evans

I remember Michael moving to Wollongong with Sarah in 1993 to head up the Resistance branch, hanging out with those two and Melissa and Mel lots, house-sharing at Rowland Ave, Michael cooking up a storm. He seemed to know everything about everything at the age of 17 ... totally amazing person in lots of ways.

Hi Jill - couldn't have been easy being Michael's mum (when he was young, at least) but I'm sure you're really proud to have been part of his remarkable life.

Jim Green

My heartfelt thanks to you Jim for your thoughts. As you say it was difficult being Mike's mum at times, but only because he knew far, far more than me, and it took a little while to understand his passion re politics, coming from a very sheltered life as I had. However, I have been proud of my son since the day he was born and continue to be so. He had a heart so big and he fought for what he believed in.
I will never forget you, Jim. I remember how very good you were to Mike in Wollongong. He loved and respected you so much, and we would frequently talk about those days and you. I was, and am so very proud of him. I loved him so much and this continues to be somewhat of a nightmare.
I really appreciate thoughts from those people who knew him best during his most politically active time.

He really was a clever and passoinate bloke. It saddens me that I hadn't seen him in so long. We were best of mates in our early school days and everyone could see that he'd be the first of our gang of mates to leave that dusty town. He changed so many people, even from an early age. It's no suprise to me that he made a political splash and ruffled feathers in the establishment.
My deepest sympathies Jill. Your son is always remembered by his old mates.
Anthony Cowley

When Michael Arnold came into my Grade 4 in 1985 he instantly became the most intelligent pupil I was to ever have the privilege to teach. Whilst he could do everything well, and his writing and public speaking were exceptional, it was his ability to relate to all other members of the class and show them respect which I admired the most. My first thought was that he would become prime minister but on further consideration I realized that he was a man of the people with a social consciousnes and that it would be more likely that he led a movement. I loved checking up on what he was doing and I'm shocked and saddened to learn of his passing today. I'll always remember Michael for turning me on to the Models, "Cold Fever".
Philip Henseleit - Glenlee

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