March 20, 2017
International Women's Day is not just the day we celebrate women that we read about on the front page of the newspaper; it is an opportunity to reflect on the many great women who make a difference across Australia.
Representing the largest electorate in Australia, spanning from Kununurra in the north out to Southern Cross in the east, Durack is home to some truly amazing women who each play a key role in making Durack the place it is today.
In Geraldton, Women Inspiring Better Business, otherwise known as WIBBs, is a powerful organisation where female businesswomen network in a warm and supportive environment.
Established in May 2010, WIBBs has grown in leaps and bounds under the management of chair Barbara Thompson from the Regional Development Midwest Gascoyne.
Barb really has a passion for empowering female entrepreneurs and businesswomen which is second to none, and is driven to see WIBBs reach its full potential.
On Barb's watch, WIBBs now has 450 members and its attendance at monthly breakfasts has increased from some 20-odd people to now well and truly over 60, which is a fantastic achievement in such a short time frame.
WIBBs provides female businesswomen in Geraldton and surrounding towns a forum to be educated and to be inspired by one another.
Not forgetting the Kimberley, businesswoman Kalyn Fletcher was last year recognised for her hard work in the business community.
Kalyn runs one of Australia's best distilleries, Hoochery Distillery, renowned internationally for its high-quality standard spirits.
Their rum in particular is fabulous, Deputy Speaker Conroy, which I know you would be very pleased to hear.
Last year, the Hoochery won a double gold medal for its 10-year old Spike's Reserve rum in San Francisco.
In 2015, the distillery's Overproof rum won a gold medal at the International Spirits Challenge in London and it took out silver last year in San Francisco.
Kalyn's passion for the North West went one step further last year with her being awarded RIRDC's (Rural Industries Research and Development Commission) Rural Women's Award for Western Australia.
Kalyn views the northwest as a region with potential for growth in agriculture and tourism. Her work and passion was recognised nationally, being awarded runner-up for the Rural Woman of the Year awards last year.
Few women have been a bigger role model for Indigenous Australians or a fiercer advocate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social justice than June Oscar AO.
Hailing from the rural town of Fitzroy Crossing, in the heart of the Kimberley, in 2007 June successfully campaigned to reduce full-strength alcohol sales in the Fitzroy region.
June held several influential positions in the Indigenous community, including Deputy Director of the Kimberley Land Council and Chair of the Kimberley Language Resource Centre, before she was appointed as the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner in February.
Elsia Archer, who is the President of the Shire of Derby-West Kimberley, is another passionate, formidable female Kimberley leader, and it would be remiss of me not to mention her here today, as she would never forgive me.
The Pilbara is also home to many important, influential women. Lynne Craigie is a name synonymous with the Pilbara and Western Australia, having forged a successful career across WA.
A qualified psychologist, Lynne ran her own practice 'south of the bush' for many years before moving to the Pilbara in 1997, where she has remained ever since, after she secured the role of psychologist for BHP.
Lynne was elected as a councillor of the Shire of East Pilbara in 2003, before becoming the shire president in 2005, a position she still holds today.
In mid-2015 Lynne became the first female to be appointed the President of the WA Local Government Association.
In Port Hedland there are few names more well-known than that of Jan Ford.
Jan is one of the most passionate people about Hedland, and the Pilbara more generally, that you could ever meet, and she has been involved with just about every single major organisation in the town at one stage or another.
She started her own business, Jan Ford Real Estate, an iconic Port Hedland brand, in the year 2000, and she won the Commonwealth Bank's business owner award at the Telstra Business Women's Awards in 2010.
Mr Deputy Speaker, you can see Durack is home to some amazing women, but there are many more: the women in the Wheatbelt who are helping to run the family farm; the women working in the Mid West in various fishery businesses; the women running thousands of small businesses throughout my electorate; and the women who choose to stay at home, running the home and caring for their family.
I salute all of those women, who all play an important role in making Durack the fabulous place it is to live.