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Thursday, 29 March 1984
Page: 944


Senator COLEMAN(10.35) —I want to tie in the matter of public importance we discussed today with an article which appeared in this morning's edition of the West Australian newspaper. Frequently newspaper stories which concern Western Australia are unlikely to make many of the newspapers in the eastern States. I tie in the matter of public importance because page 3 of the West Australian contains an article which is headed 'The day her ship came in'. It relates to a touching story of a woman who devoted her entire lifetime to the promotion not only of her own gender but also of peace. I refer to Mrs Irene Greenwood who will be well known to a lot of people in this chamber, particularly to those who come from Western Australia. Irene is now 84 years of age. It was the Western Australian State Government's wish that the new ship that was being put into service by the State shipping line should be named after her.

Irene has done a tremendous amount of work for the peace movement in Western Australia and, indeed, throughout the world. She has represented many organisations on many occasions. I had the honour of appearing on a number of platforms with her. I want to demonstrate that totally unselfish attitude of Irene by quoting an expression that she used in this article when she was interviewed. The article stated:

'I am not pleased just for myself,' she said. 'I think it is a tribute to the generation of pioneer women in this great State.'

Irene Greenwood was born in Albany in 1899. As she would say, she is a very young woman-she was born in the last month of the last year of the last century. She has won international acclaim as a writer, broadcaster, social reformer and feminist. I think she was probably born as the latter. I cannot ever remember an occasion when she has not been putting forward very strong feminist views. Her work as a pioneer of the Australian women's movement was recognised when she was made a member of the Order of Australia in 1975. On that occasion I had the honour of taking her to lunch in Parliament House. I remember the absolute joy and pleasure she felt at that time, not because she had been recognised but because as a woman and a peace worker there was at long last recognition of some of the work that people were doing. In 1981 she became one of the first women to receive an honorary doctorate from Murdoch University. The same year she was awarded the United Nations Peace Medal. I think that is the most important point . Following the matter of public importance that we discussed today, I think it is important that a tribute is paid to people such as Irene Greenwood who has demonstrated that she is not only a wonderful person in her own right but also one who cares for the rest of humanity.