I first heard Kelly Vincent’s unique husky voice on ABC Radio Adelaide 8 years ago when she was interviewed about the degree of difficulty she had been encountering with the Government while trying to get a new wheelchair, having outgrown her child-sized wheelchair. The radio community (including myself) found Kelly to be immediately likeable and rallied together to support her. I wondered if Kelly’s new adult wheelchair was possibly fast tracked by the Government due to the high degree of media exposure and community support. This was the start of Kelly Vincent getting results from the Government and is now continuing her advocacy work as Member for the Legislative Council in the Parliament of South Australia.
Kelly’s background in playwriting and acting has given her the confidence and ability to articulate the problems facing people with disabilities, and their family carers. She supports radical change for the needs of people with disabilities and believes that the biggest thing that needs to shift is peoples attitudes towards disability. Kelly has ensured that universal design principles are considered in the state planning law.
Trailblazing into parliament as a fresh faced 21 year old, Kelly has grown into her role as a parliamentarian over the last 7 years with great respect from the community, her colleagues and also the media! She’s the youngest woman elected to an Australian parliament, the first elected on a disability rights platform, she is Leader of the Dignity Party and I hope she gets elected again next year!
Diana Laidlaw says she grew up in a family with strong, progressive and political views, an influence for Diana choosing to work in politics.
She started by assisting Federal and State ministers for 7 years before she was elected as a Liberal Party member of the Legislative Council to the Parliament of South Australia in 1982.
When her party won Government in 1993, Diana entered Cabinet and proceeded to be the first woman to hold 3 consecutive portfolios over 3 consecutive terms (and 3 Premiers) as Minister for Transport and Urban Planning, Arts and Status of Women.
Diana was Minister for the Status of Women in 1994 during the year of centenary celebrations for Women’s Suffrage in South Australia and helped launch a time capsule stored in a vault in Parliament House for women to open in another hundred years. It will be interesting to see what has changed then!
Representing the Arts as Minister must have ignited Diana’s passion for starting her own artwork with mosaics during this time. Since her 21 year political career finished Diana’s mosaics are really taking off and are highly sort after. Pictured here with her popular mosaic poles which she has exhibited widely throughout South Australia. Loving her artistic life now, Diana works on her mosaics as much as possible from a farm studio in the Barossa Valley.
On a personal level it was fabulous to have Diana Laidlaw launch my first exhibition ‘women@work’ in 2000 as she represented women and the arts!