Thursday, 15 November 2018
Victorian State Election
Some months ago, I rose in this place to reflect on the legacy of Dame Enid Lyons, the first woman elected to parliament and a very fierce warrior for the Liberal cause. In the same vein tonight, I rise to reflect on the continuation of that legacy in my home state of Victoria.
As many in the chamber would know, we Victorians are heading to the polls in just nine days now. I believe it's fundamentally important for me to note that, in this election, the Victorian Liberal Party is being represented by a record number of very hardworking, highly talented and truly wonderful women. Aside from the existing members of the Legislative Council and the Legislative Assembly, who are all extraordinarily high-calibre, hardworking and admirable women themselves, we have an additional 20 women standing for the lower house and eight for the upper house in Victoria.
As Senator Reynolds would attest, because she would know, in the Liberal Party we uphold the value of women in the political sphere not as mere tokenism. We're not here for colour and movement; we're here for the public good. We believe in equality of the sexes. It's fundamental to Liberals' DNA, and equality of opportunity should be afforded to both sexes. But, while equal, women also bring unique experiences and perspective to our national debate, and their contributions are valued and, indeed, needed.
I have been extraordinarily honoured to work over the past year with so many of our State candidates. I have given them some encouragement, some advice and a bit of guidance. I don't have time to mention them all by name this evening but I would like to acknowledge their contribution. That said, I would like to note a number of lower house candidates that I've had the pleasure of supporting very closely. Monica Clark is our extraordinary representative for Ivanhoe. Donna Bauer is set to reclaim the seat of Carrum. Freya Fidge is a brilliant fighter for her local community in Geelong. Amanda Millar is our passionate candidate for Macedon. Maree Davenport is taking on Premier Daniel Andrews in the seat of Mulgrave. Katie Allen is an amazing candidate who is running a huge campaign to win Prahran back from the Greens. Cassandra Marr has been fighting tooth and nail in the western suburbs seat of Sunbury. Amy Johnson's endless passion for her community in Wendouree is a wonder to behold. These women have been an encouragement for me personally, and it has been an honour to stand by them as they stand for office. I'd also like to especially thank Moira Deeming, one of our upper house candidates in the Western Metropolitan region. She has been an utterly tireless advocate in that area. She has very small children and has made significant personal sacrifices. She works every single day to build up others and to ensure that Liberal values are real and tangible for all Victorians, not just those in traditionally blue areas.
Regardless of the result next Saturday, these women have all made history. They have paved the way for future generations of women in the Liberal Party. I want them to know that their party is grateful for all that they have done. In light of this, I'd also like to conclude by reflecting on a remark made by Dame Enid Lyons herself in her maiden speech. She said:
I believe, very sincerely, that any woman entering the public arena must be prepared to work as men work; she must justify herself not as a woman, but as a citizen; she must attack the same problems, and be prepared to shoulder the same burdens.
To my sisters in the Victorian Liberal Party who are brave, talented and aspirational: I am so proud of you all. You've worked as hard as your male counterparts—and oftentimes much harder. You have justified yourselves through your intellect and through your passion, and you have fought as fiercely as any of us could have asked you to. I wish you all the very best for next Saturday and I look forward to you all achieving extraordinary success both now and in the future of the Liberal Party.