Member for Gilmore (NSW)
For former teacher and small businesswoman, Ann Sudmalis, the ‘best part’ of being a member of parliament was ‘the work you can do for single cases where bureaucracy has complicated the circumstances and where, as the MP, you can help unravel the barriers’.
During her five and a half years in Parliament, Sudmalis fought for improvements to the region she represented, securing funding for road upgrades and a new bridge across the Shoalhaven River, as well as for mental health services, respite care for people with disability, and youth drug and alcohol rehabilitation. Her advocacy ensured the shingles vaccine was made freely available to seniors across Australia.
Sudmalis’ committee work saw her focus on issues such as education, employment, disability and the treatment of children in institutional care. She chaired the Indigenous Affairs Committee, delivering reports into improving educational opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and reducing the prevalence of imitation Indigenous art and craft.
In her final speech, Sudmalis, who mentored female parliamentarians in Myanmar, called for women to make up half of leadership positions by 2050, adding ‘I sure hope it happens around the world before then. I’ll be 90 years old and that’s way too long to wait’.