Monday, 7 July 2014

My Vote, My Voice

On Thursday 20th March 2014, National Council of Women of Victoria hosted an excellent International Women’s Day event in the Legislative Chamber of the Parliament of Victoria. 

After refreshments and photos of participants and attendees in Queen's Hall, we went into the ornate Legislative Chamber and were welcomed by the President of National Council of Victoria, Mrs Sheila Byard, who introduced the panel and the speakers.

I-vote!-Presenters,panel members, students, and members united at National Council of Women of Victoria’s International Women’s Day event March20th Queens Hall, Parliament of Victoria.
(Photo-Sophie Nowicki)

Guest speakers were: Ms Safa Al Mahoun, Youth Commissioner Victorian Multicultural Commission, Ms Billy Crombie, Education Team Victorian Electoral Commission and Ms Ramla Giirre, Caseworker, Migrant Support Programs of the Red Cross (and Adviser NCW SA)

The secondary students who spoke were introduced by Historian and past President of the League of Women Voters, Dr Deborah Towns: the students were Miranda Hoffman, Eliza Chantrell and Dawn Lee (Melbourne Girls Grammar School) and Elena Mitchell, Claudia O'Callaghan and Erin White (Ivanhoe Girls' Grammar). These engaging 3 minute presentations were well received. Mr Johnny Yang, (Deakin University) spoke about the situation of overseas students.

The panel responding to the students comprised the Hon Judy Maddigan (Speaker in the Legislative Assembly 2003-2010), Councillor Helen Harris, City of Whitehorse) and Councillor Helen Yang, (Deputy Mayor ,City of Manningham).

This year is the 100th anniversary of women being able to stand for local government office and the 90th Anniversary of the date when women were first able to stand as candidates for the Parliament of Victoria. Female Members form only 33% of the Legislative Assembly even today. It was not until 1979, that Victoria's first female Legislative Councillors were elected one of whom Gracia Baylor AM, former Member for Boronia Province was able to be with us on the day. Among the other guests was Mrs Beryle Foster (the former Councillor Beryle Campbell) who was the first woman elected to Swan Hill Council in 1959.

(Eva Court, NCWA Coordinator, Arts and Letters)

National Council of Women of Victoria acknowledges the support of our partners in its 2014 International Women’s Day event ‘My Vote My Voice’ including the Presiding Officers and staff the Parliament of Victoria, especially the Hon Bruce Atkinson MP, President of the Legislative Council and his staff, the Victorian Electoral Commission, the Bessie Rischbieth Memorial Trust of the League of Women Voters of Victoria, The Hon. Jeanette Powell MP, Minister for Local Government, The Australian Women’s Local Government Association (Victoria), Sophie Nowicka Photographer and the YoungNCWVic team (Gauri K., Olivia S., Pyrrha P-B and Yvette W.)