House debates

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Ministerial Statements

Lyons, Dame Enid Muriel, AD, GBE

11:51 am

Photo of Jason FalinskiJason Falinski (Mackellar, Liberal Party) Share this | Hansard source

Dame Enid put it so beautifully—so beautifully, I felt. She went on:

… and I believe this, too, with all my heart: that the duty of every government, whether in this country or any other, is to see that no man—

by which I presume she meant 'no person'—

because of the condition of his—

or her—

life, shall ever need lose his vision of the city of God.

Earle Page, the great National Party leader, nicknamed Enid 'the woman who wouldn't be sat down'. I think that that goes to the proud idea that she stood up for what she believed, and she stood up for what she believed at a time and at a place when often groupthink is too easy to accept, to know. Others referred to her as the 'lady member'. She was both literally and figuratively a lady, and the sole female member of the House of Representatives.

Dame Enid suffered from various illnesses and ailments during her life and, ultimately, it was her ill health that forced her early retirement at just 53. Of course in the 1920s and 1930s life expectancy was much lower and 53 was considered to be quite a senior age. Now I hear that 70 is the new 50—as I approach my 50th birthday, I hope that's true. We owe her and Dorothy Tangney, through their election to the parliament, a very significant debt. It was a very significant moment in our history. We honour their memory. I would like to thank all the members who felt it proper to give speeches on Dame Enid today, especially the members for Lyons and Braddon, and in particular the member for Boothby, who gave an incredibly eloquent and well-researched speech.


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