Hon. Kelly Vincent MLC ~ Dealing with Dignity

 

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Hon. Kelly Vincent MLC  ~ Photo by Jennie Groom ©2017

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!

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The Hon. Anne Levy AO – Presidential Power

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The Hon. Anne Levy AO       Photo by Jennie Groom ©

When I met and photographed Anne Levy a couple of years ago, just after her 80th birthday, I knew I was in the presence of a significant woman of parliament but doing some more research recently on Anne has really opened my eyes to how amazing and supremely significant she is and someone should write a book about her so school children can learn about her contribution to history, (just saying!).

Anne Levy is a trailblazer, and I don’t use that term lightly.  It’s rare to see these days politicians staying in the job for much longer than a term or two let alone 22 years and then choosing to retire, but this is what Anne Levy did which demonstrates her popularity in Government.

Anne was the first Labor woman in South Australia to be elected to the South Australian Legislative Council in 1975 where she continued serving the state until retiring in 1997.  During her tenure, Anne served as the first Labor President of the South Australian Legislative Council from 1986 to 1989.  Labor had not previously ever held the Legislative Council presidency. She was also the first woman to preside over any house of Parliament in Australia.  You may want to re-read those last two lines, I had to!

One of the first groups Anne joined as a founding member and later patron, was the Humanist Society of South Australia in 1960.  She was awarded the Humanist of the Year in 1986 for her work towards abortion law reform, voluntary euthanasia, family planning, decriminalisation of homosexuality, and other reforms.  Since then, Anne has been a member, life long member, board member, chair, patron and founder of many, many different groups and societies, not to forget, holding 6 different portfolios as a Minister whilst in Government.

Prior to politics, Anne was already a trailblazing woman for studying science and was awarded a Bachelor of Science with Honours in 1957.  In-between Honours and her Master of Science in 1963, she had 2 children and worked as a Tutor and Senior Tutor in Genetics from 1960-1975 at the University of Adelaide.

Currently, Anne is happy still serving on Boards including the State Theatre of South Australia and The Botanic Gardens and supporting artists by adding to her personal collection.