April 18 2019
Women’s rights campaigner and former South Australian Senator, Natasha Stott Despoja, will today be made an honorary doctor of UniSA in recognition of both her parliamentary and post-parliamentary contribution to the community.
Stott Despoja is the youngest woman to ever enter Australian parliament, and throughout her political career made bold contributions to a wide range of policy debate. Notably, she introduced private member’s bills on challenging issues including paid maternity leave, genetic information and data privacy, and was an outspoken advocate for same sex marriage.
Since leaving parliament in 2008, Stott Despoja has campaigned extensively to raise awareness about discrimination against women and children, leading to her appointment as Australian Ambassador for Women and Girls from 2013 to 2016.
As Ambassador, Stott Despoja travelled extensively throughout the Indo-Pacific region to promote women’s economic empowerment, working with a range of institutions including the UN and APEC to reduce violence against women internationally.
Stott Despoja is currently the Chair of Our Watch, a joint initiative between the Commonwealth and all State governments, established to drive nationwide change in the culture, behaviours and power imbalances leading to violence against women and their children.
She is very active as public spokesperson for Our Watch, and UniSA Vice-Chancellor, Professor David Lloyd, recognises the great importance of this ongoing role.
“Natasha was a trailblazer in Australian politics and for many years a household name,” Prof Lloyd says.
“Retiring from the political life she has used that profile to champion issues of great importance to society and ones that resonate with her own highly developed sense of justice.
“As UniSA is home to the Australian Centre for Child Protection we share her commitment to building a safer society for women and children and her work for Our Watch is invaluable.”
News editors please note: Natasha Stott Despoja will receive her Honorary Doctorate at the 10.30 am ceremony today. About 3500 students will graduate from the University of South Australia in April in ceremonies from April 16 to 26. The University will award seven honorary doctorates, name two University Fellows and award three Emeritus Professorships.