Ann Symonds saved lives and changed lives.
Tony Stephens, Meredith Symonds
She saved them by fighting, losing, then fighting again to provide safe injecting rooms for drug users at Kings Cross. She changed lives by her efforts to create homes for women escaping domestic violence or the curse of drugs, by finding legal ways to keep women out of jail and to care for the children of incarcerated women.
Her many campaigns lasted 50 years, until her death. Some, such as those for gun law reform, drug law reform, improved child care services, affordable housing and same-sex marriage, were unfashionable when she embraced them.
She was rusted-on Labor Left. “I’m the last member of the Emotional Left,” she had said. “And it was a small faction to begin with.” Principled, determined, even dogged and sometimes provocative, she nonetheless understood the central place of compromise in the political system. She convened the 100-member, cross-party, state and commonwealth Australian Parliamentary Group on Drug Law Reform.
SMH – 8 December 2018