Former Australian Labour Party Senator Susan Maree Ryan who was born in Sydney in 1942, died on September 27, 2020. Growing up in Maroubra, Susan was educated at Brigidine Convent, Maroubra where she completed the Leaving Certificate. Throughout her life and her extensive public service she proudly stated that she remained grateful for her convent education, which she believed gave her a social conscience, a universal outlook, a republican orientation, an understanding of institutions and debating skills.
In 1984 Prime Minister Hawke named Susan as Minister for Youth Affairs, thus making her the first woman in a federal Labor cabinet. Susan went on to serve in other ministerial roles including Minister for Education and Youth Affairs, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women’s Affairs, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on the Status of Women, Minister for Education, Special Minister of State, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on the Bicentennial and the Minister Assisting the Minister for Community Services and Health. Susan resigned from parliament in 1988.
After her parliamentary commitments Susan continued to work for human rights. In 2011 she was appointed Australia’s first Age Discrimination Commissioner, and in 2014 Disability Discrimination Commissioner.
Brigidine Sisters give thanks for Susan’s rich life and public service to Australia and we offer sincere sympathy to her family and friends.