Bill's Media Releases




Joan Kirner’s death deeply saddens us all.


From her father Keith, a fitter and turner, Joan took a deep faith in social justice.


From her mother Beryl, a music teacher, she learned to believe women could do anything.


Those two powerful principles defined her always: a dauntless warrior for social democracy and a leader of the march of women through the institutions of power.


Joan Kirner’s was a life lived for the transformative power of education: as a community advocate, parliamentarian, Minister and Premier of Victoria.


When she graduated from the University of Melbourne, Joan became a teacher at Ballarat Technical School.


When she married her husband Ron two years later, she became automatically ineligible for a permanent teaching contract.


It was an act of unfairness she never forgot and a marker of the inequality she dedicated her life to overturning.  Joan looked at politics and  refused to accept the status quo.


A fairer and better deal for women, for teachers, for schools and for students drove her.


As Joan once said:


“If you want to change the world for yourself and your own kids, you've got to change it for and with other people, particularly, women.”


This was the belief that brought her to Parliament and gave her the strength to become Premier of Victoria. It was the deep faith she kept and the Labor cause she served, all her days.


Labor honours the memory of this remarkable woman.


As the first woman Premer of Victoria, she was a mentor and an inspiration for so many women, including Australia's first woman Prime Minister Julia Gillard.  Countless Australian women - and men - will be feeling poorer for her passing.


Joan had a wicked sense of humour, she hated pomposity and she loved the Bombers.


We salute Joan Kirner’s decades of selfless service, passionate advocacy and unconquerable resolve.


We offer our deepest condolences to her family, her husband Ron, children Michael, David, and Kate, Michael’s partner Madeleine, her grandchildren Ned, Sam, Xanthe and Joachim, and everyone who loved her.


May she rest in peace.