Senate debates

Thursday, 9 March 2023

Statements by Senators

LYONS, Dame Enid AD GBE, TANGNEY, Dame Dorothy Margaret

1:36 pm

Photo of Linda ReynoldsLinda Reynolds (WA, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Yesterday was International Women's Day, and so many wonderfully diverse events were held here in Canberra. The first one I attended was a very special event at Old Parliament House yesterday morning. That was the long overdue unveiling of two statues of our first female parliamentarians, Dame Dorothy Tangney and Dame Enid Lyons. A huge shout out to my friend and colleague in the other place Nola Marino for her passion, commitment and dedication to realising both of these statutes in the parliamentary triangle—the first statues in the parliamentary triangle of Australian women. I hope the Labor Party will be equally passionate about ensuring there is one of our first female prime minister located there as well.

The artist, Ms Johnson, has done a remarkable job of capturing both ladies as they walked into the Old Parliament House together, side-by-side. It was especially lovely to meet the families, the next generation of both families, who are so incredibly and rightly proud of both women. Dorothy was a much loved teacher, and Enid was the mother of 12 children and the wife of a prime minister. They both have very different stories, but what they have in common is their resilience, strength, passion and commitment to make a difference in the lives of other Australians.

One of the biggest takeouts for me is the fact that, while both were from different sides of the ideological divide, they walked into Parliament House together and, throughout their careers, they worked very closely and collegially together and they were friends. They worked on all sorts of causes for Australian women and children, and it's an important reminder for all of us here: we are diverse, but together we can do so much.