Emily Lee-Ack addresses an International Women s Day event at the Warrnambool Art Gallery yesterday.EMILY Lee-Ack dedicated years to helping women into Parliament and now wants to see women take a front seat in local government.
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The Allansford resident is the former national co-ordinator of EMILY’s List, an organisation providing mentoring and campaign support for Labor women running for Parliament.

Ms Lee-Ack has retained an interest in women in politics since returning to the south-west, and was yesterday invited to speak about affirmative action and the role of women in Parliament at Warrnambool’s International Women’s Day event.

She said her address at the Warrnambool Art Gallery reflected on how rule changes made way for greater female representation, particularly in the Labor Party.

“I think the reflections are about what it is that needs to be done structurally to ensure women are able to achieve equity in life, whether it’s on an electable level or in their own career or experience as a volunteer.”

Ms Lee-Ack said women made up about 30 per cent of elected local governments and she encouraged those passionate about south-west issues to run for council.

“That’s comparable to other levels of government and certainly local government bodies at the state and national level are always interested in encouraging more women to run for council.

“Within the Great South Coast there have been women in leadership positions and there have been women mayors on a periodic basis for the past 20 years.

“You could certainly say women in elected positions have been great role models to those aspiring to run for council themselves.

“In a democracy it’s important for people to put their hands up and take a role in that arena if it’s something they’re passionate about.

“There’s always room for passion and talent in any elected body, regardless of gender.”

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