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!
Last night I attended the 2016 Election Q+A hosted by Women in Media at the Advertiser and listen to the above women speak on politics and being a woman in politics. You may know that this topic is close to my heart and my recent work so I just had to feature them as today’s Wednesday’s Women.
The panel of women was diverse with two women running for the Senate and two for the House of Representatives and across the two major and the two (major) minor parties.
My recent exhibition “let us be up and doing” showcased women from South Australia who are former politicians but had achieved a major milestone, like first or longest. Last nights panel, if all elected, would still be ground breaking; Rebekha Sharkie would be the first woman to win the seat of Mayo; Kerrynne Liddle would be the first Aboriginal woman from South Australia to enter the Senate; Kate Ellis will continue as an MP, her 13th year and Sarah Hanson-Young will continue on as a Senator, her 9th year.
I chose last night as a good night to start my petition, “A Plead to Lead by example, Respect from the top down. Politicians quit bully behaviour.” In the footsteps of Mary Lee who travelled the colony (SA) in 1894 gaining 11,600 signatures for her petition to give women the right to vote, I plan to do the same with the above petition as I travel my exhibition around SA in the coming months. I was very pleased our leaders last night started off the handwritten petition with many of the media women signing on too. If you would like to sign the petition which will be presented to State and Federal Parliament, you can either catch me on the road or sign the digital petition here….