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Monday, 29 November 2004
Page: 26


Ms MACKLIN (2:10 PM) —On indulgence, I am very pleased to join the previous speakers to offer my condolences to Janine's family. Hers was an extraordinary life cut far too short. Janine Haines became the first woman to lead a federal parliamentary party, in 1986. I have to say I am very sorry that I did not know her. Those who did know her often described Janine Haines as having a very direct and no-nonsense style—one of the great characteristics that I think many people will remember her for. She certainly demonstrated that in some of her early speeches in the parliament where she called for urgent action to address the plight of Indigenous Australians. She also called for greater recognition of and participation by women in public life.

Given her prior career as a teacher, she pursued with great passion the issue of access to education. As she said herself, the right of children to the best education system possible was something that she pursued right throughout her parliamentary career. She called for the government of the day to stop providing placebos and start administering restorative medicine in the form of action not words, teachers not tape recorders and relationships not rock gardens. She had a great passion for education that of course came from her time as a teacher. In an unusual combination for a teacher, she was a teacher of both maths and English. She studied the Australian poet John Shaw Nielsen while she was teaching part time. She was a woman of extraordinary talents and interests.

As others have said already today, there is no question that she was a popular and very widely respected leader of the Australian Democrats. I think that, as others have said today, those years could be looked upon as the party's golden years, and that owes so much to her extraordinary leadership. To her husband of 37 years, Ian, her daughters, Melanie and Bronwyn, and their families, the grandchildren, we offer our sincere condolences.