Australia’s first age discrimination commissioner dies
Australia’s first Age Discrimination commissioner Susan Ryan died aged 77 on Sunday.
Ryan was a trailblazing figure in Australian politics, becoming the first female minister from the Labor Party, while serving in the Hawke government.
She was also the ACT’s first female senator and first Labor senator.
When the Hawke government was elected in 1983 she was appointed Minister for Education and Youth Affairs and Minister assisting the Prime Minister for the Status of Women.
Ryan resigned from the Senate on 29 January 1988, and worked in various roles across the insurance, superannuation and academic sectors.
She was president of the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees from 2000 to 2007 and was deputy chairman of the Australian Republican Movement from 2000 to 2003.
In July 2011, Ryan was appointed as Australia’s inaugural Age Discrimination Commissioner with the Australian Human Rights Commission for a five-year term. She was also the Disability Discrimination Commissioner from 2014 to 2016.
Former Prime Minister Paul Keating said that Ryan’s greatest achievement was lifting school year 12 retention from three in 10 to nine in 10.
Labor leader Anthony Albanese tweeted a tribute to Susan Ryan's trailblazing work.
"Susan Ryan achieved historic firsts — as the first female Labor minister and the first female minister for women," he said.
"But in a life dedicated to women's rights and equality, Susan achieved something even bigger — that while she was the first, she would never be the last."
Labor's current Senate leader, Penny Wong, also mourned the loss of a Labor great.
"Champion of equality, courageous feminist and steadfast trailblazer," she wrote on Twitter.
"All Labor women are part of your legacy and we are determined to advance it."