Page 1168 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 25 March 2015

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Ginninderra, in the year above me. Her family and my family have been pretty good friends over the years through school, with her sister and my sister having a fiery relationship, as you do as a teenage girl.

Later, when Kate left school, we grew apart as she started work in the building sector. Both women and men were asked to apply for jobs in the building sector, which was unusual at the time but which came about with the introduction of the—I am not even sure what the act was called—discrimination act which provided equal rights for women in work. It provided her with an opportunity to work in a sector that was otherwise a male-dominated sector. From there she moved on and worked with the union and became the first female president of UnionsACT, where I again formed continuing relationships with her in her work in that role.

I tell you what, Kate Lundy is certainly a woman of substance. My memories are of her at Labor Party meetings in her early 20s, breastfeeding her young child and debating the motion that was brought to the meeting at the time. I was sitting behind her and I was thinking, “Wow, what a remarkable woman to be doing all of these things, being UnionsACT secretary, having a young child, standing up and debating motions at Labor Party meetings.” I knew that was not going to be where she stayed for very long, and it was not long after that, when she was 28, that she was elected as the new senator for Canberra, the youngest senator at the time.

I want to thank her for the 19 years and 22 days that she has been an amazing advocate for all Canberrans. Her natural passion and her work in IT, in sport, in multicultural affairs and for women shone a light on all of those areas which I have not seen done by any other federal politician to date. I was particularly proud and privileged to be able to work with her in her support for early childhood educators in their continuing campaign for recognition for the quality work that they do and being paid for the qualifications rather than the label of a child carer. She was a magnificent champion at the federal Parliament House, bringing together other members of parliament, both within the Labor Party and across the board, to support early childhood educators and the work they do in our community.

She was also an amazing advocate for low-paid workers in the cleaning sector. She has always been a great supporter of cleaners in the ACT but also of those working at Parliament House under some of the most challenging conditions. These are people who do not have control of their work career which changes regularly, every one, two, three, five years. Their pay rates do not often increase as much as anyone else’s. It has been great to have somebody like Kate Lundy as a real champion for low-paid workers in the ACT and for Canberrans more generally.

As I said earlier, she has been a great friend and I congratulate her and acknowledge and thank her for her work as senator for Canberra. I note on her web page the change to “Kate Lundy entrepreneur”. I look forward to seeing where she goes next and what she will do as an entrepreneur in the ACT.

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