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Carmel Maude Holmes - Former Member for the Electorate of Denison

Cassy O'Connor MP

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Tuesday, 23 November 2021

Tags: Parliament, Condolence

Ms O'CONNOR (Clark - Leader of the Greens) - Mr Speaker, on behalf of the Tasmanian Greens, I also celebrate the life and acknowledge the contribution, albeit too brief, in this place of the late Mrs Carmel Holmes.

I listened with great interest to the Leader of the Opposition's contribution and felt, as a woman in this place, very thankful for pioneers like Carmel Holmes. Is it not the case that when Mrs Holmes was elected - it was not that she was the only female MP. Was she the only Liberal MP, or the only female in the -

Ms White - The first one in 20 years to be elected to the Tasmanian parliament.

Ms O'CONNOR - First Liberal?

Ms White - No, she was the third Liberal.

Ms O'CONNOR - Have we not come a long way in a relatively short period of time? In 1984, I was in grade 11 and here we stand. Women in this place now have a majority in both Houses, which is a very good thing. It is in significant part because of the women who came before us like Carmel Holmes, Sue Napier, Fran Bladel, Judy Jackson and Christine Milne. It is really important that we reflect on the experience of women like Carmel and those others I have named in a time when parliament was a much more masculine, professional environment, where there was no televising of the proceedings of parliament, and women in those times sure did cop it. That is absolutely a political statement. Women across parties were subject to some really sexist behaviours in here.

When I read Carmel Holmes' inaugural speech, I was struck by a woman with a very fine brain and a clear sense of purpose, who understood the difficulties that business can face but also had a real heart for people, particularly young people. In many ways, Mrs Holmes' inaugural speech, as Ms White said, was setting the agenda for policy changes that came after Mrs Holmes was no longer the member for Denison. I appreciate Carmel Holmes's clarity of vision. I am thankful, as a female MP, that she sought election, was elected and endured.

On behalf of the Tasmanian Greens, I pass on my love and condolences to Carmel Holmes' family, husband Charles, her children Phillipa and Andrew, and her grandchildren Nikki and Jessie. I did not know Carmel Holmes but, through everything I have read, I acknowledge a strong, community-minded, compassionate, animal-lover Liberal woman who helped to pave the way for other women and girls to come into this place and also make a contribution to public life. Vale Carmel Holmes.