In her first speech to Victorian Parliament, the newly elected Member for Macedon, Mary-Anne Thomas, sought to highlight the role of women in the community and the importance of their voices in parliament.

Ms Thomas used the opportunity of her first speech to “write women back into history” by acknowledging the inspiring work of women in her electorate.

She spoke of being “in awe of the selfless courage of the many women in Macedon who are speaking out on matters that deserve government attention but are too often swept under the carpet”.

Ms Thomas highlighted the work of Tamara Wilson from P.S. My Family Matters, a support group for parents and siblings of people with mental health issues in the Macedon Ranges.

She praised the work of Toni Mellington from Kyneton in establishing the Macedon Ranges Multiple Sclerosis Support Group to lobby for better access for and inclusion of people with a disability.

Ms Thomas also spoke of Belinda Spence, a family violence survivor, who is campaigning locally for better support services and housing options for women and children seeking to escape family violence in the region and acknowledged the work of public education activists, Kathleen Murray and Lisa Ohlmus in Daylesford and Kyneton.

Ms Thomas concluded by thanking everyone for their encouragement and support and her strong determination to deliver on Labor’s commitments including the building of an education precinct and trades hub in Kyneton and the completion of the rebuild of Daylesford Secondary College.

She also underscored the government’s commitment to provide Legislative protection for the Macedon Ranges and renewable energy projects. Ms Thomas was supported in the public gallery by a large group of family and friends including partner, Graham Kent, who is this year celebrating 40 years of public service as a member of Victoria Police.