International Women’s Day

It was great to begin celebrations for International Women’s Day on Monday, when I attended my colleague the member for Eltham’s International Women’s Day awards and breakfast and Pauline Toner Award. Pauline Toner was the first female cabinet minister in the Victorian Parliament and she was the first female Diamond Valley councillor. It is great that the member for Eltham has established this award in her name. Bridget from Montmorency Secondary College was a worthy winner.

Pauline Toner was the MP for Greensborough, which covers much of the electorates of Eltham and Yan Yean. Sadly we lost her to breast cancer too young in 1989. She was succeeded by Sherryl Garbutt, who had been generously mentored by Pauline Toner. Sherryl represented Greensborough and then Bundoora. Sherryl held many portfolios and achieved much, including the establishment of the Victorian Honour Roll of Women, which we are all speaking about today. She also established the Diamond Valley International Women’s Day award, and Sherryl generously mentored me and allowed me to join her in co-sponsoring this award.

I have named this in honour of Selina Sutherland, who has been posthumously added to the Victorian women’s honour roll and who did so much for children in my electorate and across the state. Other great women in the area in local government include Helen Coleman, Pam McLeod and Ann Trott, who have continued the legacy of Pauline and Sherryl.