When a woman is fit and healthy, everything else falls into place. We are conditioned to put others first, that ‘burnt chop syndrome’ we observed in our mothers. It takes discipline to pay attention to our diets, to exercise, to leave time for refreshment of mind, body and spirit.
Yes, you can have it all, but not all at the same time. Set your own priorities, trust your gut and follow your heart.
Seek out a person whom you admire and respect for the support you need – that we all need from time to time.
Again and again, I learn how much friendship enriches my life, bringing warmth, assurance, humour, inspiration, a sense of security. It depends on honesty, trust, loyalty. It’s about giving. It’s for sharing the good times, but also the tough times, hurt, grief, sadness.
For a very long time now I’ve been saying to young women, ‘You can have it all, but not all at the same time.’ How important it is to take very good care of yourself, of your mental and physical and spiritual wellbeing; it’s hard to do. It’s easier to be a workaholic than to have a truly balanced life.
I believe the old boys’ network is a powerful one. No one gives up power and privilege willingly, do they?
The bonds that women share around the world, wherever we come from, they’re very powerful and they have an ease of communication because we share those very important things of our families, our mothering, of improving opportunities for the next generation.
I think we have to keep working enormously hard to see that every single Indigenous child – every Australian child – has true equality of opportunity. Weve got to work harder at it. I think, you know, the heartland issue for us is the gap; the gap in life expectancy in this country.
Graduation day was a milestone in the most important journey of all – to the centre of oneself.
Begun as a girl from a little country town in central western Queensland, inspired by noble ideas of justice, about fairness, about making the world a better place.
The thing we often forget to talk about, or perhaps we take for granted, is our country’s dazzling beauty. Our natural environment is so much a part of Australia’s art, writing, music and culture, both indigenous and non indigenous.
I think there’s a very clear recognition and understanding that the progress of women in business at the very highest decision-making levels is too slow. This is a discussion that’s going on in every country around the world, actually.
My mother played the piano and my father the violin, I can remember my dad teaching me how to waltz; I had my feet on his, my mother playing the piano, and my husband will tell you the lessons weren’t very successful.
All women need support when they’re having their babies and their little families are in formation. I have to say I have a lot of concern about the numbers of women – and men, now – who are not getting the support that they need. There are not the families and the communities around that there used to be.
I’ve never owned a pair of jeans, but I had a fantastic denim boiler-suit and it got a lot of wearing.
I support affirmative action. I support special measures when you need it.
We all go back to our roots. My father went to the central west, went to Ilfracombe in 1919. He was the manager of the wool scour there. And, Ilfracombe was right at the heart of Australia’s great wool industry, and my mother was a teacher at Winton.
The Australian way of affirmative action is setting goals and recognising discrimination and lack of opportunity and deciding to take action and setting some goals and targets. I guess I prefer that language to talking about quotas.
One of the most enjoyable things I do at Government House and when I travel around Australia is to talk with children. I tell them about our parliamentary democracy – and I often do that as I’m walking into an Executive Council meeting next door!
The aboriginal women leaders of Papunya – the Papunya Artists – performed a dance for me: the Honey Ant dance. They’d never done it for anyone else. They honoured me with a ceremonial stick that signifies the story of the land.