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Portraits Of Trailblazing Australian Politicians Unveiled

The portraits of two trailblazing female politicians are set to be unveiled in a ceremony at Victoria's Parliament House.

MELBOURNE, Australia — The portraits of two trailblazing female politicians are set to be unveiled at Victoria’s parliament.

The portraits of Lady Millie Peacock and Pauline Toner will be unveiled in Queen’s Hall on May 6 afternoon by Legislative Assembly Speaker Colin Brooks and Legislative Council President Nazih Elasmar.

Lady Peacock was elected to the Legislative Assembly in November 1933 and served in the Victorian parliament until February 1935.

She was the wife of Sir Alexander Peacock, a three-time premier of Victoria, and replaced him in parliament following a by-election after his death. Lady Millie Peacock served the rest of her term in Parliament but did not seek re-election.  She retired from Parliament in 1935. Lady Millie Peacock died on 7th February 1948 after a long illness.

Toner was appointed as Victoria’s first female cabinet minister in April 1982 and served as the minister for community welfare services until March 1985. Survived by her husband and their four daughters and one son, Toner died of cancer on 3 March 1989 at Greensborough and was buried in Eltham cemetery after a state funeral at St Mary’s Catholic Church, Greensborough.

Portrait of Pauline Toner unveiled by Legislative Assembly Deputy Speaker Maree Edwards and Pauline’s daughter Madeline Toner. (Parliament of [email protected]/Facebook)

The Victorian Adoption Network for Information and Self Help (VANISH) named its Carlton headquarters Pauline Toner House, while La Trobe University established a student award in her honor.

“These two women led the way at the Victorian parliament and it is only fitting that we honor them with portraits for our art collection,” Colin Brooks said in a statement.

“These portraits will help to ensure the achievements of these inspiring women are remembered and appreciated for a long time to come.”

Elasmar said it was important visitors to Parliament House get a “complete picture” of the many people who have helped to shape the state.

“With these two portraits we are taking a step forward to ensure Parliament’s art collection reflects the diversity of people who have played an important role in our state’s history,” he said.

Lady Peacock’s portrait is by Andrew Mezei, a Melbourne-based artist who has paintings in the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra, the Geelong Gallery and the Gippsland Art Gallery in Sale.

Toner’s portrait is by Raelene Sharp, who is an Archibald Prize Finalist, Archibald Packing Room prize winner and winner of The Shirley Hannan National Portrait Prize.

The Parliament of Victoria tweeted ‘Two portraits of ground-breaking women unveiled at Parliament, honoring the achievements of Lady Millie Peacock, the first woman elected to the Victorian Parliament, and Pauline Toner, first woman Cabinet Minister in Victoria. Portraits are by Andrew Mezei & Raelene Sharp.’

(Edited by Vaibhav Vishwanath Pawar and Praveen Pramod Tewari)

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