Heather Southcott - Condolence Motion

The Hon. D.W. RIDGWAY (Leader of the Opposition) ( 14:24 :40 ): I rise to second the motion and endorse the comments by the Leader of the Government and will add a few of my own on behalf of members opposite. I wish to extend our condolences to Mrs Southcott's family at this most difficult time. Mrs Southcott was elected as the member for Mitcham in 1982 at a by-election, following the resignation of the Hon. Robin Millhouse. Mrs Southcott had a long-standing connection with the seat of Mitcham, and in fact was the great aunt of the current federal member for Boothby, Dr Andrew Southcott, whose electorate encompasses the former seat of Mitcham.

At the time Mitcham was held by the Australian Democrats, and to her credit Mrs Southcott held the seat in a tight contest against the Liberal Party. Unfortunately for the Democrats she was not able to repeat this feat some six months later at a general election, and was displaced from the seat of Mitcham. Although Mrs Southcott's time in parliament was relatively brief, her achievements were distinguished.

In addition to being elected to the House of Assembly, Mrs Southcott was also elected the parliamentary leader of the South Australian Democrats on 20 August 1982. This accomplishment was historic, as Mrs Southcott became the first female leader of any parliamentary party in Australia. This was a fitting appointment, given that she came from a reformist background and encouraged bipartisanship in a testament to her goodwill and efforts for the betterment of her community.

Outside the political sphere Mrs Southcott was more generous with her time, finding time to volunteer her services with various groups, including the University of Adelaide. Mrs Southcott was the wife of Ron Southcott, a former commissioner with the Repatriation Commission and a renowned medical scientist. She was also the proud mother of two daughters, Ann Marie and Jane. Ann Marie is a respiratory physician and Jane a music teacher and their respective success is further testament to Mrs Southcott's endearing qualities as a parent.

Not only will Mrs Southcott be sorely missed by her family, but her passing also represents a great loss to the South Australian community, and I am sure her achievements, both in and out of the parliament, will not be forgotten.

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