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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 8 Hansard (19 August) . . Page.. 2733 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

accommodation for older people and-a need that all members here, and especially all from the previous Assembly, will recognise-a convalescent facility for older people.

And so, through changes of governments, Betty and her comrades continued to do the work, surveying older women's experiences of hospitalisation, proving the need again and again. Last year, 2002, when the first step towards a convalescent facility was opened at Calvary, Betty was a key speaker. I think that was the last time I saw her. It was an example of Betty's persistence-knowing that you must keep going even though it may seem nothing is happening and you are continually saying the same things. She also recognised how important it is to work with others. These are truly valuable skills in social change.

Betty did valuable work in a range of groups. In the Older Women's Network, which I am more familiar with, she was part of the foundation group in the ACT. She edited the newsletter the New Dawn, spoke about her life at public rallies and meetings and, as I say, did the rounds of elected representatives.

Earlier in her life, she had lectured at Sydney University. In 1988 her book Silk and Calico: Class, Gender and the Vote was published by Hale & Iremonger. As the title suggests, the work is a political history of women's suffrage in Australia, so it does the essential job of remembering where we have come from and giving us a sense of who we are to thank and what we are building on.

In recent years, Betty also supplied profiles of some of those women for the New Dawn, among others, a profile of Louisa Lawson, who was, among other things, the editor and the owner of Dawn, OWN's original journal. Betty described these profiles as "a salute to all those women who fought for the vote and equal rights to custody, property and jobs at the time of Federation". Betty was a living example of women making great use of that legacy and passing it on for the benefit of us all. Thanks, Betty, and salutes to you. You will be missed.

MS GALLAGHER (Minister for Education, Youth and Family Services, Minister for Women and Minister for Industrial Relations): Betty Searle was an incredible woman: mother, partner, feminist, friend, activist, author, academic and a person who, right up to the end of her life, took her citizen's responsibilities very seriously. It is with great sadness that I rise to speak to this today.

Betty Searle was a widely respected woman who was loved by many. I had the privilege of knowing Betty and, earlier this year, presenting her with an ACT International Women's Day Award. She was a woman who touched more women's lives than most can imagine.

She began her secondary education at Hornsby High School during the early 1930s. Sixty years of continuous activities followed, including work, world travel and raising a family. She enrolled as a student at the University of New England and gained a Bachelor of Arts degree, going on to become a Master of Letters in 1985. In 1992, at the age of 75, Betty was invited to tutor at Sydney University in women's studies. She was actively promoting the rights of women before the Second World War and in recent years focused on improving the status and welfare of older women.

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