Media Release: 2nd October, 2013: Democrats tribute to Janet Powell AM

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MEDIA RELEASE: 2nd October, 2013

Democrats tribute to Janet Powell AM

The Australian Democrats have paid tribute to their former leader, Janet Powell, who died on Monday after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

Party President, Darren Churchill, said that Ms Powell filled very large shoes when she took over as the party’s leader, following Janine Haines’ unfortunate defeat in her 1990 House of Representatives bid.

“As Leader, Janet Powell stuck her neck out in the first gulf war, with the Democrats being the only parliamentary political party to oppose Australian involvement. It brought stinging attacks from some and a loss of votes in opinion polls, but she stood her ground. Her and our party’s position of non-involvement in Iraq has ultimately been vindicated.

“Janet was active in our party from its foundation. Despite living in Echuca she regularly and frequently made trips to Melbourne to be part of the organising and decision-making of a rising new party. She ultimately became the Victorian State President and a National Deputy President of the party.

“Although not personally ambitious, when Don Chipp resigned from the Senate in 1986, Janet found herself filling the casual vacancy created and she threw herself into that role with the same commitment she’d shown in the policy-making and administration of the party.

“Janet brought with her a passion to reform tobacco advertising, and in 1989 her ground-breaking bill to ban tobacco advertising in the print media passed through the parliament, the first time a private member’s bill from the Senate was carried in both houses.

“Our thoughts are with her family, and we are grateful to Janet Powell for the service she gave our party,” said Mr Churchill.

Media contact:

Darren Churchill 0412 196473

darren.churchill@australian-democrats.org.au

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