Tanya Plibersek and Chloe Shorten write: "Thank you to Australia's first Minister for Women."

On International Women’s Day, we salute Labor’s first Minister for Women, Susan Ryan AO.

We thank you for the 46 years you have served our party and the lifetime of service you have given the women of Australia.

You are a continuing inspiration for all of us who believe in the power of politics to deliver a more equal Australia.

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As a co-creator of the Women’s Electoral Lobby, you carried the fight for reproductive rights and fair pay through to the election of the Whitlam Government.

You introduced the media to a raw, and very real side of wage inequality, oppressive reproductive laws and lack of access to proper education and training for women.

It was ground-breaking – and you were brilliant.

You showed a generation ‘a woman’s place is in the Senate’ and a feminist’s place is in politics.

You lit the way for the next generation.

Susan Ryan. (Image via

We know it wasn’t easy. The Sex Discrimination Act and The Affirmative Action Act were hard-fought and hard-won.

When others urged caution, you showed courage. When others counselled delay, you chose action.


Your legacy lives in Labor still. We proudly publish Labor’s Gender Budget Analysis each year – because a Federal Budget that’s good for Australians, has to be good for Australian women.

We know you are still engaged in the fight for equality.

As Age Discrimination Commissioner, you have fought to remove age barriers for older Australians in employment, education and social investment.

When your role was expanded to Disability Discrimination Commissioner, you were a voice of reason for proper commonwealth service delivery to some of Australia’s most vulnerable people.

Your insights and your advocacy are still helping drive the success of the most significant social reform of this century: the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Tanya Plibersek is a great admirer of Susan Ryan. (Image supplied.)

Susan, you are the personification of political leadership, tenacity and compassion – a living reminder that the fight for progress and social justice can be won.

On behalf of the Labor party and the women of Australia, thank you for making such a stunning and substantial contribution to our community.

With great respect and admiration,

Tanya Plibersek
Chloe Shorten

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