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MP loses cancer battle

  • MP loses cancer battleFiona Richardson

Australia’s first Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence has died

Victorian MP Fiona Richardson has died, aged 50

The Member for Northcote announced only two days ago that she was taking more time off after being diagnosed with multiple tumours.

Ms Richardson was first elected to parliament in 2006, but took time off in 2013 after being diagnosed with breast cancer.

After the Labor government's defeat in the 2010 Victorian state election Richardson was appointed as the Victorian Labor Party's spokesperson for public transport. Due to her ill health, her responsibilities were reduced in a December 2013 reshuffle of the opposition shadow cabinet, and she took responsibility for small business and innovation.

When Labor was returned to government in 2014, Richardson was made Minister for Women and Minister for Prevention of Family Violence in the Andrews Ministry

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Minister for Women and the Prevention of Family Violence and Member for Northcote has passed away bravely after a prolonged battle with cancer.

Fiona’s had a significant impact on public issues at a local, state and nationwide level.

She served our State as Minister for Women and this nation’s first ever Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence. She was an unwavering advocate on behalf of victim-survivors and every Victorian touched by the tragedy of family violence.

She achieved so much for victims in a short space of time.

Overseeing the Royal Commission into Family Violence, getting Respectful Relationships into the State Curriculum, championing family violence leave for our public sector workers, funding Victoria against Violence and turning the state orange and developing the state’s first Gender Equality Strategy – which the whole nation is now working to emulate.

Her decision to talk about her own family’s experience on Australian Story took guts. Her strength and insight – the love between her, mother Veronica, brothers Hamish and Alastair – touched the lives of many people and allowed them a glimpse of why she was such a fearless champion for victim-survivors.

Fiona had unfinished business. She wanted violence in the home to stop and she knew for that to happen it would take dedication and leadership over the course of a generation.

Fiona was a quiet champion of women’s rights, with an all-woman Ministerial office devoted to her.

Since being elected to Parliament in 2006, Fiona has also been an incredibly strong voice for the people of Northcote.

Her local achievements are many but they include: securing upgrades to local schools, including Croxton School and Northcote High, ensuring the removal of the notorious level crossing on Grange Road in Alphington and the widening of the Chandler Highway Bridge, Fiona has steadfastly served her community.

Fiona was also the architect of Labor’s Level Crossing Removal policy in her role as Labor’s Shadow Transport Minister between 2010-2013.

She was Parliamentary Secretary for Education and Treasury and Finance from 2006-2010.

She is survived by her husband Stephen