Daylesford residents pay tribute to Kirner

TWO Hepburn Shire residents have remembered former Victorian premier Joan Kirner as a tireless campaigner, life-long mentor and dear friend.

Mrs Kirner, who died at the age of 76, played a key role in education reform, abortion laws, and encouraging more women to enter politics.

Former Victorian upper house member and Daylesford resident Candy Broad said Mrs Kirner was tireless in promoting women.

"She could be stubborn, willful and down-right unreasonable in her pursuit of these goals, but we are all better off because of that determination," Ms Broad said. 

Mrs Kirner was first elected to parliament in 1982 and became the state's first female premier in 1990 after John Cain resigned.

She held office for two years before Jeff Kennett's landslide win at the 1992 election.

After her retirement from politics, she helped establish EMILY's List Australia – an organisation independent of the ALP that has helped elect hundreds of women.

Fellow Hepburn Springs resident and former Labor state secretary Jenny Beacham said she was a role model to a generation of women she mentored, like Julia Gillard.

The pair met when Ms Beacham appointed as a Disadvantaged Schools Adviser in 1974 and Mrs Kirner was an Australian Schools Commissioner.

She said from the moment their paths crossed, they were friends.

"When she went into Parliament in 1983 I went to work as her electoral officer for 18 months and then I went into the ALP head office where I became state secretary in 1990," Ms Beacham said. 

"She was someone who stayed absolutely true to the values she started out with, and the personal qualities entrenched from her childhood.

"Above all she was great company, still interested in every aspect of life - people, books, ideas, politics, babies, theatre, football - a complete person."

Hepburn Shire mayor Kate Redwood AM also attended the state funeral last week. 

Mrs Kirner leaves behind her husband, Ron, children Michael, David, Kate, and four grandchildren.

- with THE AGE 


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