Senate debates

Wednesday, 23 November 2022

Statements by Senators

Kennedy, Ms Elizabeth

1:44 pm

Photo of Jess WalshJess Walsh (Victoria, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

Today I pay tribute to early childhood educator and United Workers Union member Liz Kennedy. Liz passed away suddenly last week at the age of 59. Liz was a tireless advocate for early childhood educators and the children in their care. She was determined that every child should have access to the highest quality early learning possible and that every educator should be properly valued for their incredible work, including in their pay packet. Liz took every opportunity to advocate for her profession, including by publicly challenging comedian Dave Hughes to spend a day walking in her shoes after he said, live on radio, that early educators just play with children and change nappies. He took up her challenge, and let's just say he was suitably educated by Liz, by her fellow educators and by the children he was tasked to work with.

Liz was rightly proud of her role, winning better pay as part of a Victorian union agreement with over 100 employers in the sector, and she wanted to see the benefits extended to all early educators. So, just two weeks ago, Liz was here in Parliament House to once again advocate for early educators to receive the recognition they deserve. While there's so much more to do in this place to make that happen, Liz's legacy lives on in the lives of all the children who she taught and nurtured and in the pride and the passion of educators, which she helped foster by standing up for her profession.

My deepest sympathies go to her husband, Jim, and to her children, and to her colleagues and the families at Windsor Community Children's Centre. Vale, Liz.


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