The Hon. Jenny Macklin — Awarded September 2018
Jenny Macklin is the Member for Jagajaga and Shadow Minister for Families and Social Services. She has been a member of the House of Representatives since 1996, representing the Division of Jagajaga for the Labor Party, and was the first woman to hold a leadership position in either major Australian party.
In 2011, Ms Macklin was given the additional responsibility of Minister for Disability Reform, overseeing the design and implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) — Australia’s major social policy reform designed to ensure that people with disability receive the care and support they need.
The rollout of the NDIS commenced in 2013 at four launch sites around Australia, with full rollout expected to be completed in 2019. Ms Macklin was instrumental in the success of negotiations with states and territories, which resulted in a nationwide agreement on the NDIS. When fully completed in 2019, the NDIS is expected to cover around 460,000 Australians with disability.
Jenny Macklin was also responsible for the most significant reforms to Australia’s pension system in its 100 year history. These reforms delivered pension increases, a new pension supplement, a pension work bonus and a new indexation system. She also oversaw the implementation of Australia’s first national paid parental leave scheme.
Ms Macklin has said that one of her most important achievements was to take the politics out of Indigenous affairs and destroy the toxic division between “symbols” and “practical” change. On 23 November 2011, the Stronger Futures Policy legislation was introduced by Macklin to address key issues such as unemployment, school attendance, alcohol abuse, child protection, safety, housing and land reforms in the Northern Territory.
This year, when Ms Macklin announced her upcoming retirement from political life, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten paid tribute to her “life of service to our movement and to this country” and her “deep policy knowledge, unshakeable conviction and ceaseless determination to see the right thing done”. He said, “Jenny Macklin changed the country, in her quiet way... The truth is, there isn’t a single major social policy reform in recent times that hasn’t been shaped by Jenny Macklin.”
For this exceptional contribution to the betterment of all Australians, we thank and honour Ms Jenny Macklin.