Page 3405 - Week 09 - Thursday, 24 August 2017

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Motion (by Mr Gentleman) proposed:

That the Assembly do now adjourn.

Ms Fiona Richardson

MS BERRY (Ginninderra—Deputy Chief Minister, Minister for Education and Early Childhood Development, Minister for Housing and Suburban Development, Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, Minister for Women and Minister for Sport and Recreation) (5.53): Madam Speaker, along with many people across Australia, I was deeply saddened last night to learn about the death of Fiona Richardson, Victoria’s Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence and Minister for Women. Despite the fact that her illness was well known, Fiona had fought it so bravely for so long that her passing still came as a shock. I am sure I speak for all members in saying that our thoughts and sympathies are with her family, friends, colleagues and all those who are mourning the loss of a fine leader.

Fiona was a giant for women’s progress and for the elimination of domestic and family violence. She took these causes forward in Victoria with a commitment that set her apart, particularly through her leadership around the Royal Commission into Family Violence and, more recently, the Victorian gender equality strategy. Fiona also shared her own experience of family violence publicly, with courage and with a willingness to show how indiscriminate this violence can be.

Through this leadership, she helped build momentum behind national movements of change which also touched us here in Canberra. As a fellow minister for women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, I was lucky to develop a friendship with Fiona over the past few years. Some members will be aware that the ACT and Victoria have shared extensively in the development of our responses to domestic and family violence. I am also willing to admit that Fiona and I have shared a few exasperated text messages over the course of what can be very frustrating national teleconferences. Neither she nor I had a lot of time for the jargon which can echo through some of these conversations. Her attitude was just to get on with it. She saw her chance to make a difference for many women, she took it, and that is what is being remembered today around Victoria and Australia.

Madam Speaker, despite great sadness at her passing too young, Fiona leaves behind countless women more empowered to demand equality, victims of violence more empowered to speak up, and young feminists who will follow in her footsteps. I pay tribute to her contribution, and my thoughts are with everyone grieving today on her passing.

Marriage equality

MRS JONES (Murrumbidgee) (5.56): I wish to put on record a few thoughts on the postal vote on the same-sex push to redefine marriage and the public vote now to take place starting in just a few weeks time.

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