Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 1 Hansard (13 December) . . Page.. 196 ..
MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):
Her death was unexpected and she will be sorely missed by a very large number of people in Australia with whom she worked and whose lives she touched by virtue of her activities advancing the position of women. I support the motion before the house.
MS DUNDAS: I thank the previous speakers for their kind words and rise to add my voice to the many who remember a friend and a feminist activist.
The condolence book online at www.wel.org.au is full of stories about how Helen touched so many lives, and is a fitting tribute to one who embraced the web and made it her own. Many of the stories touch on Helen's great ability to encourage and inspire women to be outspoken and outrageous, a skill Helen herself had in spades.
It deeply saddens me that one of the first events I attended after the announcement of the election result was a celebration of Helen's life. I know that Helen's congratulations would have been among the most enthusiastic. She would have been sitting in my office already, and all of your offices, encouraging and providing insights on a number of issues. Helen's death during the campaign saddened a number of candidates, and I am glad that we could come together, even though we were battling for seats, to remember Helen.
Helen was special in the way that she welcomed women trying to discover feminism and activism, and the way she treated us all as equal. While her cooking and skills in the kitchen could also be classified as special, it never stopped her being hospitable to those who wandered in. As a young woman trying to participate in an organisation that had already changed the world, and that was full of amazing and well-respected women and feminists, I appreciated that Helen enabled many young women and newer feminists to participate, and that she helped us recognise feminist leaders as women as well.
Her dedication and enthusiasm, and her camera, which recorded so many women and events, will never be forgotten. Her contribution, as part of a strong and continually growing movement, will always be cherished. Thank you Helen.
MS TUCKER: Helen Leonard's death has left an enormous hole in many people's lives, and in the network of feminists in Canberra and around Australia and the region. For anyone who hadn't had the pleasure of meeting Helen, the tributes on the Women's Electoral Lobby's web site will show you what a rich life she led, how many people she touched, and how many people feel deeply the gap left by her sudden death. In this virtual condolence book are many beautiful and moving tributes to Helen, and to the partnership of Helen and Judy Harrison.
Helen was an inspirational feminist to many, a campaigner, stirrer, strategic planner, networker, mentor and friend, with seemingly unflagging energy and humour. From the Nursing Mothers Association of Australia to the Women's Electoral Lobby, CAPOW, and the National Women's Media Centre web site, and on almost every feminist action in between, Helen has been an important presence.
Helen's contribution and presence are still there, through her work, the strength of her personality, and her example, and I think she will continue to be a tremendous force. Helen and Judy Harrison, together, seemed to be part of every feminist activity in town.