Page 812 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 29 March 2023

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Whilst no doubt Elizabeth had a distinguished political career, it was her professional career and her service to her community that is quite extraordinary. In writing this condolence motion speech, I was astounded by just how extensive her service was to her profession and to her community.

Elizabeth was a respected pharmacist who was a leading member in the pharmacy profession as both a manager and a proprietor. She was president of the ACT Division of Business and Professional Women, chair of the Canberra Festival Inc, chair of the ACT Health Authority and a member of the Parole Board. And if that was not enough, in addition she was chair of the ACT Hospital Services Board and chair of the National Health and Medical Research Council Animal Welfare Committee as well as a member of the ACT Women’s Consultative Council between 1989 and 1998. Elizabeth was also a board member of the Council on the Ageing (COTA) ACT from 2000 until 2016, holding the position of chair from 2005 to 2011. She was also a director of COTA Australia for several years, and I acknowledge Catherine Adcock from COTA ACT here with us today.

Elizabeth had an extraordinary commitment to service across so many areas, which was recognised in 1987 when she was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia in recognition of her service to health administration and to the community. She was awarded the Centenary Medal in 2001 in recognition of her contribution to Australian society and government and was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Monash University in 2005.

Retirement was never on the cards for Elizabeth, even after her beloved husband, Howard, passed away. She continued to work with her daughter Sue and son-in-law Richard in their successful business here in Canberra, always taking a very hands-on role and never slowing down. I understand she remained a director of the company and continued to keep a sharp eye on the day-to-day activities of the business, even from her hospital bed, which I am sure will not surprise those who knew her so well.

Of course, along with all her professional accolades, she was, first and foremost, a beloved wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother and I know how deeply she will be missed by those who loved and knew her best.

Those who knew her would know that she never shied away from speaking her mind. Her sharp wit and intellect never diminished even in her older years. She was a strong advocate for women in the Liberal Party and politics generally, and I always personally valued her guidance and advice.

Elizabeth was particularly kind to me, warm and incredibly supportive. As a fresh-faced newcomer to politics over a decade ago who knew nothing about the world that I was embarking on, it is wiser women like Elizabeth who gave me the encouragement, the inspiration and the support that I needed to get to where I am today. Even up until the last few months, Elizabeth’s incredible kindness was evident and she always had my back. Each time I saw Elizabeth, either at a party event or a community event, she would always ask, “How are you going?” tell me that I was doing a really good job and to keep it up. The vote of confidence and faith she had in me was so important as I went from newbie political aspirant to party leader, and I will always be grateful for her support, her mentorship and her kindness.


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