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Wednesday, 23 May 2018
Page: 4426

Ms O'DWYER (HigginsMinister for Revenue and Financial Services, Minister for Women and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service) (09:48): This month the International Women's Forum held its global cornerstone conference in Melbourne, bringing together 550 pre-eminent women leaders from 30 nations across the world. As a founding member of IWF in Australia, I was pleased to be part of the conference, which tackled many of the big issues currently facing women globally in 2018. The IWF aims to lift up women of all backgrounds, encouraging them to take leadership positions that will benefit families, communities and businesses right across the world. Members come together across cultures, careers and continents to raise their voices for the advancement of women globally.

While opening the conference, President Teresa Weintraub described the IWF as a global community of outstanding women leaders who come together to build better leadership for a changing world. I couldn't have summed it up better myself. Impressively, in just four years, IWF Australia has grown from 20 women sitting around a table—of which I was one—to an organisation of 135 influential women across every state in Australia. Next month, in Washington DC, the IWF Leadership Foundation will celebrate 25 years of advancing women. I wish them well for this milestone and commend their continued commitment to advancing opportunity for women.

I also want to take the opportunity to rise to pay tribute to Higgins resident Thomas Frederick Warwick, who, sadly, passed away this month. Tom made a significant contribution to Australia in his 76 years. As a 24-year-old entrepreneur, he founded Warwick Fabrics. Over time, the business would add a substantial number of jobs to the Australian economy. From humble beginnings, he built the business through hard work and ingenuity. He later remarked:

I attempted to make a very humble business appear much more grand; I often answered the phone in one voice and then 'paged' myself as managing director to take the call.

Tom's determination to build something special saw Warwick Fabrics open offices in the UK, New Zealand, India, South Africa and the UAE. He turned a small family business into a big business.

He was also the founding chairman of the Australian Motor Sport Foundation, and was renowned for fervently helping young drivers to achieve their dreams. He was a passionate member of the Liberal Party for many years and, while we didn't always see eye to eye on every policy, there can be no doubt that the debate was richer for his contribution.

Our thoughts are with Tom's family, including his wife, Robyn, and sons, Cameron and Leighton, and their mother, Anthea, at this difficult time. Vale, Tom Warwick.