16 May, 2024

Adjourned debate on motion of Hon. R.B. Martin:

That this Council—

  1. Notes that 2024 marks the 55th year of the Zonta Club of Adelaide;
  2. Recognises the significant contribution the Zonta Club has made to empowering the women of South Australia; and
  3. Congratulates all those who have contributed to the work of the Zonta Club over the last 55 years.

(Continued from 10 April 2024.)

The Hon. J.S. LEE (Deputy Leader of the Opposition) (16:27): I rise on behalf of the Liberal opposition to support this motion and I thank the Hon. Reggie Martin for introducing this particular motion to the Council.

On behalf of the Hon. Michelle Lensink, I would also like to convey her very sincere personal congratulations to the Zonta Club of Adelaide. As many honourable members would know, the Hon. Michelle Lensink has been the Liberal spokesperson for the Status of Women since 2007 and she has passionately supported the status of woman and has had a long association with the Zonta Club of Adelaide.

In speaking to this motion, I would like to congratulate the Zonta Club of Adelaide for its 55th anniversary. For over half a century, this esteemed organisation has been a beacon of hope, empowerment and positive change for women in South Australia and worldwide. I would also like to acknowledge that the Zonta Club of Adelaide had the first club charter in South Australia.

I would like to pay tribute to Dr Heidi Taylor, often called Mother Zonta, who began life in East Prussia. She trained as a nurse during World War II, later qualifying as a doctor. After marrying, she moved to England and in 1959 migrated to Australia.

As a migrant, Heidi initially worked in an Adelaide medical laboratory, before studying to requalify as a medical doctor in Australia in 1967. In 1968, Heidi was appointed a director of a unit at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, where she successfully fought for gender equality.

In 1969, Heidi became a charter member of the Zonta Club of Adelaide, the first Zonta Club in South Australia, and was an active club member until close to the time of her death. She held almost every position on the club's board and consistently provided positive support for each new president.

I want to commend the Zonta Club of Adelaide, which has been a steadfast advocate for women's rights, working tirelessly to address critical issues such as gender equality, violence against women and economic disparity.

Through their various program initiatives Zonta have made a tangible difference in the lives of countless women. One of the cornerstones of Zonta's mission is advocacy. The club champions local, national and international initiatives that promote women's legal rights, health, education and economic independence.

This commitment to advocacy is evident in the club's efforts to develop a national advocacy strategy through the national Zonta Australia group for advocacy.

I also commend Zonta for their great community engagement and fundraising. Some of the success stories or deliveries that Zonta Club have done include 24,000 birthing kits and they made more than 9,000 breast cushions for breast cancer patients.

They raised over $100,000 in scholarships. They also provide hands-on support and funding at the Eastern Adelaide Domestic Violence Service and donated $68,000 to Zonta Foundation for Women to support Zonta's international project.

In conclusion, once again it is a great honour to be able to support this motion on behalf of the Liberal Party. I thank the honourable member for moving this motion and wish the Zonta Club of Adelaide another 55 years and more longevity to come in their strong advocacy and support for women.