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Thursday, 3 December 2015
Page: 14812

Mr GRIFFIN (Bruce) (12:13): I rise in the House today to acknowledge the passing of a Labor stalwart of the Mornington Peninsula, Jane Hill. Jane was the state member for Frankston and then Frankston North during the time of the Cain and Kirner governments from 1982 to 1992. Prior to that Jane was also a councillor in the City of Frankston. She will be greatly missed.

She came from very humble beginnings. Her father worked on the railways and her mother was a nurse. She had a high school education. She trained as a mothercraft nurse and also worked, as members would know, as a housewife, which was itself a very demanding vocation. But she always had an interest in politics and the community. She took that interest into the Labor Party and then into the local council. This was back in the 1970s. In those days it was quite unusual for women to be successful in local government. At the time that she was elected to council in 1979 she was the first female councillor for some years, and she was the only female councillor for that first couple of years. Of course, that has now changed, thankfully.

She then stood for the state seat of Frankston at the 1982 election. This was at a time when it was thought there may well be a change of government, after a long period of conservative rule; however, the seat of Frankston was not on the radar. Jane succeeded with a swing of over seven per cent and won that safe Liberal seat, knocking off a minister at the time, Graeme Weideman, by just 76 votes. Subsequently, there was a redistribution, and she was endorsed as the candidate for Frankston North and held that seat for two terms. When another redistribution occurred, which was not so good, she narrowly lost to Peter McLellan at the election in 1992.

She was a strong local advocate for issues in the local community. If you go to her maiden speech, you will see her talking about issues in Frankston around hospital and health funding, the need for a strong police presence, and also for the public transport needs in that area, amongst a range of other issues. She maintained that advocacy right through her time in parliament, and was successful in ensuring the government funded a range of issues in the area over her time.

She was also part of that first Labor government in Victoria in a generation. She was one of a number of members who helped ground that government in its understanding of the needs of the community. Many of those were women—people like Carolyn Hirsh, Kay Setches, Judy Dixon, Margaret Ray—who were active within there communities and were often able to stand up in caucus and in the parliament and ensure that people as ministers understood the needs of the community.

She struggled with health issues over her life, but she never gave up. Although at times she was uncertain about her role as a member, she was always fiercely passionate about the issues she took forward on behalf of the community she represented. I have to declare a personal interest, which is probably why I am struggling a little bit with this speech. She was a mentor of mine. She was also my mother-in-law, and someone whom I will dearly miss. It has been a great loss to Barrie, her husband, who has been a very important partner to her over so many years. Her achievements were also very much Barrie's. His support to her over time could never be overestimated. It is also a loss to her children, Vic, my former wife Marianne, Kerrin and Richard, and to her grandchildren—my children, Hannah, Bridget and Sophie—and also James and Elise, as well as her wider extended family.

It is also a great loss to the Labor Party in the area, given the role that she played, although in later years to a lesser degree. She was always a voice of wisdom within the party. She was always someone who was prepared to say the sorts of things that people needed to hear but did not always want said. She was always someone who was prepared to be out there having a go. She will be missed and in my case more than many would understand or know. My condolences to her family on what will be a great loss.

Sitting suspended from 12:18 to 12:30