Hon. Fiona Richardson, MP

On behalf of The Nationals I am honoured to speak in support of the condolence motion in memory of Fiona Richardson. In particular I wish to pass on my best wishes to Fiona's husband, Stephen Newnham, and their two children, Marcus and Catherine. To lose a wife and mother at such a tender age is absolutely tragic.

Stephen was the state secretary of the Labor Party when I was the state director of The Nationals. We fought the 2006 campaign together and I got to know Stephen quite well. The political conversations that they would have had around their dinner table would, I think, have been unrivalled anywhere. For Fiona to be born in Tanzania, come to Australia and forge the political career that she did following her university studies in politics and psychology demonstrates the determination she had to succeed in whatever she decided she wanted to do. Obviously her roles in the Labor Party and in the Australian Services Union were a factor in the career that Fiona forged. When she was the shadow Minister for Public Transport she was the architect of one of the significant policies of this government — the removal of 50 level crossings — and there is no doubt that that policy will leave a legacy for this city.

When the current government was elected to office in 2014 Fiona was appointed the Minister for Women and Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence. As the Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence Fiona oversaw one of the most important policies that this government has worked on. The scourge of family violence in our society is intolerable and should not be acceptable in any circumstances. For the first time in this state a spotlight was shone very brightly on this issue and an awareness of the issue was brought into the light. Family violence was a hidden issue in our society, and without doubt Fiona's role has brought that out into the sunshine and people are now prepared to talk about it. As a result of the family violence policy administered by Fiona many women have found the courage to speak out and to seek help and many women and children are now safer in their homes. We should all thank Fiona for her role and dedication in making those families safer today.

On behalf of The Nationals I would like to thank Fiona Richardson for her commitment to serving the people of Victoria and thank her for the very important work that she did in the prevention of family violence. Rest in peace, Fiona Richardson.

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