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Vale Heather Southcott AM: First woman to lead a political party in Australia

Date: 15 December 2014

Australia has lost another inspirational political leader in Heather Southcott, who died on Friday 21 November 2014, aged 86. In 1982, Southcott became the first woman to lead a political party in Australian when she became the SA State Parliamentary Leader of the Australian Democrats.

Following her time as a Member of Parliament, Heather was a mentor to younger members, and gave decades of unselfish, unstinting service to the party, including service as the party’s National President. Badly affected by polio when young, she continued to contribute even when its effects returned later in life. In mid-2010, a heavy fall at home left her badly injured, and she was forced to withdraw from active participation in political life. She continued, however, to provide wise counsel to younger colleagues. Read more.

Heather Southcott was nominated for inclusion in the Encyclopedia of the Women and Leadership in Twentieth Century Australia, which was published in May 2014.


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