Women in Agriculture and Business


Mr VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN (Stuart) (12:29): I rise to support this very good motion from the member for Frome. Women in Agriculture and Business is an absolutely outstanding organisation in South Australia and have been for 100 years now, as we know from the centenary celebrations that were held in late October in Riverton. Unfortunately, I was not able to attend those celebrations due to other electorate commitments. I know that Kendall Jackson, the Liberal candidate for Frome, was able to attend. She said it was an outstanding event supporting a truly wonderful organisation.

I have been fortunate, though, to attend other Women in Agriculture functions—a tremendous one once in Booleroo. Quite a few years ago, they asked me to come and speak with them. They have a very strong presence in that part of the world. Not too many months ago, I was able to attend a very special event for Women in Agriculture and Business here in Adelaide in the park in North Adelaide just off O’Connell Street, where they actually had the ceremonial planting of the rose that was bred to celebrate women in South Australia and the contribution they have made over many years.

As we know, Women in Agriculture have been around for 100 years. Interestingly, they started in Riverton. They were actually created there in Riverton. It is a bit unfortunate that they do not have a branch in Riverton anymore, but they are very strong in many other parts of Australia and South Australia. The working and social interaction between men and women in country and outback South Australia could not be more important.

I know it is important in the city. I am not comparing in any way, but my experience with the way families and businesses and communities operate in country and outback areas is that they could not and would not be what they are without organised, capable, hardworking, nurturing women who contribute everything you could possibly imagine, from raising families all the way through to leading large businesses in rural South Australia.

An interesting thing is that rural country areas, outback areas are sometimes considered to be more conservative, a bit more old-fashioned and maybe more chauvinistic, but let me tell you that men in country and outback areas value the women they live and work with enormously. There are features of country and outback life that perhaps to city dwellers might seem to be a bit more conservative, but let me tell you that it does not flow through in any way to respect for women or the understanding by men that women in country and outback areas can contribute to leadership roles of all sorts of descriptions.

There are women leading school governing councils, there are women who are principals, there are women who lead hospitals, there are women who lead transport organisations and there are women leading in senior police roles. There are women in every level of society in country areas, and men are glad to have them there. Men do not want to drag them back down. Men do not feel uncomfortable in that role at all. Let me say that that flows through across different ethnic and racial backgrounds as well. In Aboriginal communities, women play an incredibly strong leadership role in many ways.

In migrant communities in country and outback South Australia, women play a very important leadership role. Throughout country and outback South Australia, women are recognised as the people who will sometimes be supportive, sometimes be working side by side and sometimes be leading to make sure that the right things happen in their families, in their homes, in their communities and in their workplaces. In country and outback South Australia, we celebrate that fact, so I support the member for Frome’s motion wholeheartedly.

Women in Agriculture and Business is a very significant organisation that contributes in the most grassroots of ways and also to some of the most senior leadership roles that exist in the nation. Their advice is valued everywhere they go. They are an outstanding organisation and I am very pleased to have many friends and acquaintances who are members of Women in Agriculture and Business.