Jill Hennessy, Member for Altona and former Attorney-General, Minister for Workplace Safety and Minister for Health and Ambulance Services, has advised me that she will not be seeking re-election in 2022.
Every role Jill has held in this government – every achievement and every reform she’s been part of – has been underpinned by an unfaltering commitment to fairness.
That commitment has led to her to driving some of the biggest reforms our state has seen – whether it be Australia’s first wage theft laws, nurse-to-patient ratios, workplace manslaughter laws or safe access zones for women’s health services.
As Health Minister in our first term of government, Jill was championing immunisation and taking on anti-vaxxers long before it was a global phenomenon.
Jill was only three years old when her mother Joan was diagnosed with the painful and cruel sentence of multiple sclerosis. Sadly, she and passed away just weeks before she could witness her daughter deliver the first voluntary assisted dying laws in our nation.
She came to that reform with the same zeal and intellect characteristic of her approach to any question of fairness:
“The question for me is not just why – the question is why not. And just because it's hard is not an adequate answer for us to do nothing.”
I know her mother would be as enormously proud of Jill’s achievements, just as we are as a labour movement.
An ardent and passionate Westie, Jill knows her community and has always advocated for the infrastructure and services they deserve.
As a strong believer in government giving people the support they need to live prosperous lives and reach their full potential, Jill has tirelessly worked to ensure her had the services it needs to thrive.
I said at the time that Jill’s decision to step back from her ministerial roles was a courageous one. Her openness in communicating that decision and the one she is announcing today will go a long way in improving the way we talk about the challenges of public life, especially on our family.
I want to thank Jill for the work she’s done, her years of service to the Parliament and the Labor Party, and her dedication to our great movement.
On a personal note, I want to thank her for her years of friendship and unwavering support – and wish her, Bernie and their daughters all the best for the future.
Reviewed 24 November 2021