Lorraine Elliote a great Liberal

lorraine elliottPeter Adamis 4 July 2014.   It is always sad whenever someone has passed onto another dimension and left the earthy existence of we call life. Whether we want to admit it or not there is always a sense of loss and hole is left within you as a constant reminder of our own mortality and short stay. 

It is fitting that we remember those who have gone before us and Lorraine Elliott is one that should be remembered. She was a bright beacon of light shining in the dark recesses our society’s ills and ignorance.   From the little I knew of her and from information gleaned from others who knew her well, Lorraine was not afraid to speak her mind. She set the example to many young women who followed her during the Jeff Kennett years and many tried to emulate her.    My brief interaction with her was due to recent events such as meeting and being introduced at State Council, seeing her at a pre-selection and lobbying her for support at a pre-selection. 

I found her that she was pleasant to speak with on the telephone and easy to understand.  Even her questions during the question period were about social issues and I noticed that she was an avid listener. Suffice to say her vote went elsewhere but that is nature of politics and nothing personal. I am a great believer in remembering those who have gone before us and recording their achievements no matter what their politics and/or points of view of life. I am also of the belief that much more needs to be done to remember those who have contributed to our Australian way of life and for the maintenance of institutions and especially for those who have set a good example for others to emulate and/or follow.

If readers but take the time to read her inaugural speech it will provide a them with a window into her world and how she saw it.  Lorraine Elliott’s speech is provided below.   Lorraine Elliott was certainly a lady that stood by her principles and supported the underdog throughout her life. I am quite sure that her passing will leave a huge gap in the lives of the people who met her.  We must efforts to ensure that we do not forget the beacons during our own lifetime.  May her memory live long after we have all gone.  Condolences to those she has left behind.


3AW News 3 July, 2014

Lorraine Elliott, a former state MP and mother of 3AW Drive presenter Tom Elliott, has died aged 70.  Lorraine Elliott was the Member for Mooroolbark from 1992 – 2002 and most recently president of the Australian Centre for the Moving Image.  Mrs Elliott joined the Liberal Party in 1972 serving as the Canterbury branch president, a Federal Council Delegate and chair of the Strategy Committee. Her positions included Parliamentary Secretary for the Arts, Shadow Minister for Community Services and Shadow Minister for the Arts. 

Premier Denis Napthine said Mrs Elliott was admired and respected around Parliament House for her strong intellect, her absolute commitment to her various roles and “mostly for her caring nature, great sense of humour and bright smile”. “Lorraine was truly passionate about fostering and promoting the Arts, making a real and lasting difference to those in need in our community, and encouraging and mentoring more women into Parliament and public life. She continued to focus on these areas following her Parliamentary career,” he said.  “These wonderful attributes will be sorely missed by all who have known her.”  Mrs Elliott passed away last night after a brief battle with illness.



Born                09 July 1943 (Melbourne, Victoria) 
Died                 2 July 2014. 
Parents:           Harry James Golder and Ailsa Lorraine

Marriage:         (1) John Dorman Elliott (diss.), 2s. 1d. (2) 8        

                         November 1996, John Kiely 
Occupation:    Teacher 
Education:       Ashburton Primary School. Camberwell

                         CEGGS (Matriculation 1960). BA, Dip Ed

                         (Melbourne) 1964. BEd (Monash) 1984.

Career: Teacher, Blackburn High School 1965-67. Voluntary work: Honorary Probation Officer with the State Correction Service; combined with home duties 1967-83. English Literature Teacher, Donvale Living and Learning Centre 1983-86. Longstanding involvement and interest in Girl Guide Movement (now ‘Guides Victoria’). Member: Billanook Educational Services, Billanook College Mooroolbark; The Smith Family Strategy Group; Lyceum Club. President, M.E.T.E.C, Kilsyth.

PARTY: LIBERAL PARTY.    Party Note: Joined party 1972. President, Canterbury Branch 1981-90. State Council Delegate 1982-90. Federal Council Delegate 1986-90. Metropolitan Female Vice-President, (Victorian Division) 1986-91. Chairman, Strategy Committee 1987-91. Member, Mooroolbark Branch since 1993.

House Electorate Start End
MLA Mooroolbark 3 October 1992 29 November 2002

Appointments: Parliamentary Secretary, Arts 1996-99. Shadow Minister for Community Services and Shadow Minister for the Arts October 1999-November 2002. Community Development Committee 1992-96.

References: Victorian Parliamentary Handbook. Who’s Who 2002. 
Initial data source: Victorian Parliamentary Handbook, 54th Parliament 



Mrs ELLIOTT (Mooroolbark) — Thank you, Mr Speaker.      I am honoured as the first member for Mooroolbark to rise to give my maiden speech to this House.   Mr Speaker, I would like to congratulate you on your election to your office because, knowing you personally, I know that you will deliver that office with impartiality and, I think, with a sense of humour.  I would also like to pledge my personal loyalty and that of the constituents of Mooroolbark to Her Majesty the Queen and her representative in Victoria, His Excellency the Honourable Richard McGarvie.

Mooroolbark the electorate is in a unique situation. It lies on the outer urban fringe of Melbourne but it is also the gateway to Melbourne’s great rural hinterland, which means in practice that the member for Evelyn got the wineries and I got the factories, but I will let him have those.  Mooroolbark is an Aboriginal name meaning red earth. A lot of red earth has long since disappeared under the urban sprawl but the name is commemorated once a year in the Red Earth  Festival, which is a big community festival in the area. However, there are some areas that I hope will be preserved for ever in the Warrandyte State Park where one can still see the red earth at close quarters.

There is an anomaly about Mooroolbark, however — the main roads bisecting the electorate have the names of English cities and counties: Dorset, Cambridge, Pembroke, Manchester and Hull. There is a reason for this: they represent the origin of a significant proportion of my electorate, people who came to Australia from England, Ireland and Scotland hoping for better lives for themselves and their families.  Those people have special qualities: a gritty independence; a dislike for being told what to do or how to do it; a fierce loyalty, particular to Australia; and a fierce adherence to family values. One thing I noticed when I was doorknocking was the prevalence of Australian flags in people’s homes, particularly in their windows, like a beacon to a weary doorknocker.

The major churches in the areas have larger than average congregations, and I think that reflects this fierce adherence to the values of the family. I think it is also the reason that Mooroolbark, which was notionally a marginal Labor seat prior to the election on 3 October, now has a margin for the Liberal Party of 10.1 per cent. Mooroolbark is an area of small business; it has no huge shopping centres, but rather the small strip shopping centres that many of us remember from years ago.  It is an area of manufacturing and of commuter workers who take public transport or use the roads to get to work every day.  Mooroolbark, like the rest of Victoria, has been hard hit by the recession. Many of the shops in Mooroolbark shopping centre are empty. The shops in Croydon change hands frequently. There are many advertisements in the real estate agents’ windows.

While I was doorknocking I found the hidden tragedy of the recession. In many cases it was middle-aged men who had been retrenched and had no hope of future work. Many of them had teenage children who also would find difficulty in getting jobs because of the recession. In most cases it was the women in the families who had their fingers in the dyke trying to plug the holes and to keep up the morale of the rest of the family, which moved me greatly during those 18 months when I was a candidate.  Companies like Kenworth Trucks have laid off workers, Hollandia Shoes closed down, and many of the constituents in my electorate were employed by Nissan, which has just recently closed its manufacturing plant in Clayton, so they felt very nearly the effects of the recent recession.

What do people aspire to, not only my constituents in Mooroolbark, but the ordinary man and the ordinary woman? I think first of all they aspire to home ownership — a home of one’s own has always been part of the Australian dream. They want access to quality education for their children, and not only for their children but for adults, for themselves, a second chance at education. They want affordable and available health care. One of the tragedies of our hospitals — and I have a great hospital on the fringe of my electorate, Maroondah — is the queue of older people waiting for hip replacement operations, which the hospitals simply cannot cope with. People want employment, the hope of a job which they will be able to keep and therefore be able to keep their families and themselves in dignity.

In my electorate they want efficient and reliable rail and road transport, particularly in an area where so many people are dependent on these things to get to the city, to get to work, to get to schools and to cross the electorate to get to their homes, and they want safety of their persons and their property. So many of the older people in my electorate do not feel safe in their homes. The security firms in the electorate do a great business and dogs are very much in evidence too — people fear for their own personal safety.  In my view, government must underpin the aspirations of the ordinary man and woman to live in dignity. Government has a role in lessening the dependence of ordinary men and women on government. The values of my electorate closely reflect the values of my party, particularly the values of patriotism.

I have a strong background in and a strong commitment to education, particularly education of girls and women, and to the delivery of community services. In my electorate I will be supporting the move to have a university established in the outer east. I was very pleased that under the previous government Swinburne University of Technology was able to establish a campus in Mooroolbark. I think that that will provide a great future for school leavers in my electorate. I will, like my colleagues, Mr Phil Honeywood, the honourable member for Warrandyte, and the Honourable Rosemary Varty in the other place, be working closely to make sure that the core campus of that university is established to give the outer east its very own university.  I am excited by the government’s plans to establish the schools of the future.

 I have some great schools in my electorate, both primary and secondary, and I know of many school principals who will be most interested to participate in the Schools of the Future program. Because most of my constituents send their children to government schools — there is only one non-government non-Catholic school in the electorate — providing choice in the government schools system is what my constituents would wish for their children, and I hope to be working closely with those schools to implement the government’s program for the schools of the future.

The government promise to extend the Eastern Freeway as far as Ringwood will help my electorate; it will mean that people will more easily be able to get to the city to their jobs and home again in the evening.  I think that will arrest any decline of population in the outer east because people are dedicated to that area and would like to continue to live there for the quality of life it affords.  Because of the recession and because people tend to take out on those nearest and dearest to them the frustrations of unemployment, low self-esteem and fear of the future, we have problems in Mooroolbark, as people everywhere have problems, which often manifest themselves in the family situation through domestic violence, children being placed at risk, homeless women and children, and homeless youth.

I feel that the taxpayer has a responsibility, through the government, to give care to those people. I also feel, however, that non-government agencies deliver the service better than government agencies.  I have had a long association with the St John’s Homes for Boys and Girls, which has a family Care-Force team in Croydon. That is the sort of service delivery that I think best serves the community. This organisation has an underlying philosophy of compassion and care and as a church-based organisation it gives that extra something to the clients in its care.  Another aspect of Mooroolbark I am very pleased about is that the need of people not only to receive but to give — the voluntary principle — is still very much in evidence.

The sort of concern that people felt for me while I was a candidate is expressed, often through the churches, to many people in the community who are in need, particularly those who are sick or who have family troubles. A government that says it can do everything is taking away the need people have to both give and receive care and compassion. Those are the two areas on which I hope particularly to focus as the member for Mooroolbark.  I also hope to be a good and able spokesman in this House for the people of my electorate and to represent the decisions of this Parliament adequately to them.  As the first member for Mooroolbark I feel indebted to the members of my party who first chose me as their candidate and put their faith in me. I am particularly indebted to the people on my electorate committee and my electorate chairman, John Lord.

I feel privileged to have been elected by the voters in Mooroolbark to be their member. I hope to justify their faith in me. I am particularly grateful to my three children, to my parents and to all my friends for the support they gave me during those 18 months, and for the obvious pride they feel now that I am here. I would like to thank members on both sides of this House for the warm welcome they have given me and other new members. I also thank the officers of the Parliament for the courtesy with which they treat the new boys and new girls.  That has been most heart-warming and I think has saved all of us from many embarrassing situations.  Mr Speaker, I look forward very much to my term in this House, to getting to know other members better and to taking part in the deliberations of this great Parliament. I thank you.



AAP  July 3, 2014

Former Victorian MP and parliamentary secretary for the arts Lorraine Elliott has died.   Ms Elliott, who served as the Liberal MP for Mooroolbark from 1992 to 2002, died on Wednesday night after a short illness.  She had three children with former Liberal Party and Carlton Football Club president John Elliott before they divorced.  Victorian Premier Denis Napthine said Ms Elliott, 70, was admired and respected around parliament house. 

“Lorraine was truly passionate about fostering and promoting the arts, making a real and lasting difference to those in need in our community, and encouraging and mentoring more women into parliament and public life,” Dr Napthine said on Thursday.   Ms Elliott was parliamentary secretary to the premier for the arts under former Liberal premier Jeff Kennett from 1996 to 1999.  More recently she was appointed to the board of the Australian Centre for the Moving Image in Melbourne.  Ms Elliott had also served as board member or director for other public organisations, including the Australian Children’s Television Foundation, St Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne International Arts Festival and the Dame Nellie Melba Opera Trust.



July 3, 2014   

Patrick Hatch.  Lorraine Elliott Photo: Alan Betson.    Family and friends have remembered former Victorian politician Lorraine Elliott as a kind, generous and compassionate person following her death on Wednesday.  Mrs Elliott’s family was by her side when she died about 7pm at the Epworth Hospital in Richmond. She died from complications from the breast cancer she first contracted in 2001.

The cancer re-emerged about six weeks ago.  Her son Tom Elliott, a presenter on radio station 3AW, remembered the former teacher as a “wonderful mother” to him and his two siblings. “She was an incredibly kind and generous person, she was always very interested with what other people were doing,” he said. 

 “She retained a love of teaching and English, and right to the very end she would correct grammatical mistakes in my work or in my speech.”  Tom said the family had been overwhelmed with messages of support from many who knew his mother.  Mrs Elliott, a week away from her 71st birthday, was the Liberal Party member for Mooroolbark in the Victorian Parliament from 1992 to 2002. She served as parliamentary secretary for the arts, and shadow minister for community services and the arts during her time in Parliament.  She was a champion for women on many fronts, declaring early in her parliamentary career that that ‘‘women’s issues do not exist in isolation — they concern men too’’.

 She placed great value on quality child care, health care and education and saw enterprise bargaining, where people negotiated their own conditions of employment, as a plus for women.  Ms Elliott had three children with businessman and former Carlton Football Club president John Elliott, and in 1996 she married journalist and newspaper editor John Kiely. She had six grandchildren.  Premier Denis Napthine said Mrs Elliott had been passionate about making a lasting difference to those in her community.

“Lorraine was admired and respected around Parliament House for her strong intellect, her absolute commitment to her various roles, but most of all for her caring nature, great sense of humour and her renowned bright smile,” he said. “These wonderful attributes will be sorely missed by all who have known her.”  Melbourne lord mayor Robert Doyle took to Twitter to express his sorrow at Mrs Elliott’s death, tweeting:

“I learned with sadness that my former colleague and friend Lorraine Elliott died last night. Vale to a wonderful intellect & deep compassion”.  MP Heidi Victoria saluted Mrs Elliott’s passionate advocacy for Victoria’s artists and arts sector.  And former premier Jeff Kennett said Mrs Elliott had been a ‘‘wonderfully compassionate, intelligent, loyal and bright lady. We are all better off for knowing her.’’



HERALD SUN   JULY 03, 2014 

LORRAINE Elliott, the former MP for Mooroolbark and mother of broadcaster and Herald Sun columnist Tom Elliott, has died. 

Mrs Elliott, 70, who had been ill with cancer for some time, died overnight.  Paying tribute, Premier Denis Napthine said Mrs Elliott was passionate about fostering and promoting the arts, making a real and lasting difference to those in need, and encouraging and mentoring more women into Parliament and public life.  “Lorraine was admired and respected around Parliament House for her strong intellect, her absolute commitment to her various roles, but most of all for her caring nature, great sense of humour and her renowned bright smile,” he said.

Last month federal MP for Higgins Kelly O’Dwyer spoke of Mrs Elliott’s influence on her as a young woman.  “Lorraine has been incredibly active in encouraging all women and in particular many Liberal women to engage more fully in political debate and public life,” she said.  Mrs Elliott, who represented Mooroolbark between 1992 and 2002, was parliamentary secretary for the arts in the Kennett Government. Later in Opposition, she was Liberal spokeswoman for community services and the arts.  She is survived by her husband, John Kiely, and three children from her earlier marriage to businessman and former Carlton Football Club president John Elliott.


Lorraine Elliott AM by Tony Snell Liberal Party State President   6 July 2014

It is with deep sadness that I note the passing of Lorraine Elliott.  Throughout her life, Lorraine made an outstanding contribution to the Liberal Party and to Victoria through her career as a State Member of Parliament.    Lorraine was a graduate of the University of Melbourne and Monash University. She went onto become a teacher and took an active interest in Australia’s Girl Guide Movement (now Guides Victoria).
Lorraine was a champion for women on many fronts, not least within the Party. After joining in 1972, Lorraine went on to be elected as a Vice-President of the Party. She also co-founded the Canterbury Evening Discussion Group. Her legacy lives on in the many women she influenced and supported into Parliament and leadership positions within the Party.
Elected to the Victorian State Parliament in 1992, Lorraine represented the electorate of Mooroolbark for ten years. She was a passionate advocate for the arts and served as the Parliamentary Secretary for Arts in the Kennett Government. Later in Opposition, she was the Shadow Minister for Community Services.  Our thoughts and prayers are with Lorraine’s husband, John Kiely, and family, including current Vice-President Caroline Elliott. 


Virginia Trioli   17/07/2014

Funerals are for the living, not for the dead. We know that while we are in life, so we are also in the presence of death – how could it be otherwise? But I have long believed that death, and the commemoration of death that is a funeral, exist to teach us how to live well. It is an ordinary sorrow that we are provided so many opportunities to reflect on this; those opportunities come around more frequently with age.

So it was on a bitterly cold morning last week that I found myself among a quiet and heavy-hearted crowd at St Peter’s Eastern Hill to remember the life of a woman who had a strong and joyous instinct for a life lived well. Lorraine Elliott, former Victorian state member for the seat of Mooroolbark and parliamentary secretary for the arts, mother of three, former wife of businessman John Elliott and wife of former journalist John Kiely, died two weeks ago after an aggressive return of cancer that had been defeated years before.

She was one of the loveliest, most thoughtful and endearing people I have ever met in politics, and I became an admirer from the first. The real people in politics – the ones whose individual courage and candour never have to battle shallow ambition – are so few, their presence is electric. Lorraine was one of those, and the extraordinary crowd that gathered to remember her that cold, gusty morning bore witness to it.

The lovely city church, pre-dating the gold rush and whose foundation stone was laid by Charles La Trobe, was filled with an extraordinary cross-section of political, cultural and social figures. Former Victorian premier Ted Baillieu, current Premier Denis Napthine, lord mayor and former Liberal leader Robert Doyle, Michael Kroger, former senator Richard Alston, Victorian MP Tony Smith, Tanya Costello, wife of former federal treasurer Peter Costello. Representatives from the many arts organisations she loved and supported, including the Dame Nellie Melba Opera Trust, were there, too, and the music and singing from the church’s high gallery were a highlight. (For those who appreciate Melbourne history, Dame Nellie took organ lessons as a schoolgirl at this church.)

Lorraine Elliott’s passionate belief in the arts, in good government, in opportunities for women, in committed friendship, were celebrated in music and speech. It was a gathering of unusual warmth and affection. As a parent, I think the best measure of a life well lived is that your children can speak of you at your funeral with real love, affection, respect and admiration. The Elliott children set a new benchmark for this, with a series of warm, funny and loving tributes that all ended with uncloaked grief at just how much they will miss their mother.

John Kiely, in the tightly edited prose of a good reporter, offered a beautiful insight into the woman who had made him so happy. One of Lorraine’s grandchildren brightly shared what he loved so much about his grandmother. A handwritten note of farewell from Lorraine to her grandchildren was reproduced in the order of service, and many of us made sure we only read that when we were somewhere out of view.

We all have to find our own reason for living and, right or wrong, I’ve never been in any doubt about the meaning of life. I have never wasted a moment pondering what it’s all for. I believe life’s purpose is connection: emotional, or intellectual, or philosophical, or creative, or familial, and I am always reminded of this sacred task every time I stand in black watching a coffin pass me by.

We are here to make true connections with each other and find the possibility of a life lived fully for each other. Those who knew Lorraine Elliott know that she did this with élan. On that cold, sad morning I was reminded once more.