On behalf of its members across the country, the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) has paid tribute to former Labor Senator Susan Ryan, who has died at 77.
Ms Ryan was the first female Labor Cabinet Minister, serving in Bob Hawke’s Ministry as Special Minister for State, Minister for Education and Youth Affairs and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Status of Women.
After serving as a Senator for 12 years, she was appointed Australia’s first Age Discrimination Commissioner and then Disability Discrimination Commissioner and was instrumental in introducing historic laws, notably the Sex Discrimination Act.
ANMF Federal Secretary Annie Butler said Ms Ryan was a pioneering politician who was a great advocate for the everyday work of nurses and carers.
“We are all deeply saddened at the passing of Susan Ryan, who dedicated her public life to championing equality and the rights of Australia’s working women,” Ms Butler said.
“Susan was a brave, inspirational female leader and role-model, who made a significant and long-lasting contribution to Parliament, always fighting hard for gender-equality.
“Her tireless campaigning over the years has made Australia a fairer, better place, through landmark laws which have protected and promoted women’s work and the rights of women in the workplace.
“Susan was a loyal supporter of the ANMF and our members and was very vocal about the problems plaguing the aged care system and the need to ensure elderly Australians the best possible care.
“Susan and her work will never be forgotten.”
The ANMF, with over 290,000 members, is the industrial and professional voice for nurses, midwives and assistants in nursing in Australia.