Page 4771 - Week 13 - Tuesday, 10 November 2009
The second woman I would like to acknowledge here today is Dianne Proctor, whom I first met when I was quite young, attending after-school care at Woden Community Service, dropping in to see my mum who worked there. Dianne was director of Woden Community Service when I first met her. She moved on to become the executive director, as I recall, of Family Planning Australia and later to become, I think, one of the founders of the Australian Reproductive Health Alliance and the parliamentary group on population and development. She is probably best summed up as a feminist, a social activist, an unashamed leftie and a very strong and fierce advocate for anyone who happened to meet her.
At her funeral last week a quote was read out which Dianne had at the bottom of her emails. She was emailing right up to when she went into hospital and people who received her emails will be missing them now. The tag line she had under her signature block was from Rebecca West in 1913 and it said:
I myself have never been able to find out precisely what a feminist is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat.
Everyone had a good laugh at that because it does sum up Dianne. Dianne had a lot of messages of condolence for her husband Reuben, her second husband, and also for her son, Andrew. Senator Claire Moore sent the following message:
Dianne Proctor’s work has been a major inspiration and support for so many women. Her commitment, passion and humour through many years in Family Planning and the Australian Reproductive Health Alliance contributed significantly to community awareness and action, as well as to the essential engagement of parliamentarians through the Parliamentary Group on Population and Development. As we celebrate 15 years since the Cairo Declaration on Population, the basis of the Millennium Development Goals, we remember Dianne Proctor, who attended that meeting, and did Australia proud.
The final thing I would say is that one of the first memories I had of Dianne was of walking into her office and seeing an overflowing ashtray. It was back in the times when you could smoke in the workplace. Dianne was a lifelong committed smoker. In fact, I remember her chewing Nicorettes and smoking at the same time. It was her very dedicated commitment to smoking that led to all her health issues in later life. She had COPD and was confined with oxygen in the latter years of her life. She passed away at only 70.
I have stood here before and acknowledged the passing of several individuals whose commitment to smoking ultimately caused their untimely death, and I do not think Dianne would mind me saying that it is another reminder of the risks and the harmful effects of tobacco smoke to see such good people leave too early.
MS BURCH (Brindabella—Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services, Minister for Ageing, Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Minister for Women) (4.43): I would like to take a few minutes to respond to some of the