A great woman

South Australian Liberal Senator Jeannie Ferris has died in a Canberra hospital after a battle with cancer.

Senator Ferris was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2005 and had been receiving treatment at the Canberra Hospital for the past several weeks.


Democrats Senator Natasha Stott-Despoja says Senator Ferris will be greatly missed in the halls of parliament and beyond.

“For many of us we’ve lost a dear, dear friend and colleague.

“Her work particularly in recent times on cross-party women’s work, her establishment of an ovarian cancer research facility, her work on stem cells, her work as whip, all of these are part of her proud legacy.”

Senator Ferris was indeed a great friend to women, and was very involved in all of the most prominent examples of cross-party co-operation over the last couple of years. She genuinely cared about these issues, and fought hard for them – even against the anti-women and anti-science forces in her own party in a government-controlled Senate.

Vale, Jeannie Ferris.

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Posted in feminism, life, politics
6 comments on “A great woman
  1. tigtog says:

    A great loss to our national public life. We need more leaders willing to look beyond the partisan and factional to actually serving the public interest.

  2. Guise says:

    Not wishing to detract from Senator Ferris’ efforts in the least, I’d also like to note the death of another great Australian woman, Professor Aileen Plant. Professor Plant led the WHO response to the SARS outbreak in Vietnam and several other countries a few years ago. She was a world-recognised epidemiologist who gracefully took on this and other roles, sometimes at substantial personal risk. In a rational universe, her passing would rate far more column inches that a sportsman’s drug test.

  3. Pavlov's Cat says:

    The world needs more of both of them.

    Anna, thanks for posting about Senator Ferris’s death. I read about this earlier today and was going to send an email, and then realised that someone at LP would be bound to pick it up quickly.

  4. Anna Winter says:

    Here is a speech she gave a few years ago that encouraged lots of other women Senators to speak about the issue.

    She was also behind the letter signed by all the female senators to Abbott last year calling for the cervical cancer vaccine to be put on the PBS.

  5. pablo says:

    Listening to ABC Life Matters (Tues) I was intrigued to hear her recount a visit in 2005 to Canberra Hospital outpatients prior to her diagnosis of ovarian cancer. After a very lengthy wait she demanded a CAT scan over the advice of a medico who told her it was expensive and she really should just accept her symptoms of tiredness as nothing to worry about.
    Full marks for her persistence but odd to think of a Lib senator getting into the queue at a public hospital. Maybe a mark of the woman.

  6. audrey apple says:

    Thanks for posting about this Anna. Senator Ferris was indeed a wonderful politician – truly an example of not allowing politics to interfere with her humanity or morality.

    I met Senator Ferris a couple of times while I was working for Senator Stott Despoja. She was always very polite – a very, very classy lady.

    Best to her family at this sad time.

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