The victims of domestic violence have lost a powerful advocate with the death of Victoria’s Minister for Women Fiona Richardson.
Ms Richardson, aged 50, passed away one day after announcing she was taking more time off after being diagnosed with multiple tumours.
The state’s first-ever minister for Family Violence Prevention had previously taken time off in 2013 to recover from breast cancer.
Following news of her death, Labor leader Bill Shorten tweeted: “We have lost a brave, remarkable and inspirational woman.”
“This is so sad. Thinking of everything Fiona Richardson achieved,” he added.
In tributes on Twitter, Ms Richardson was praised by MP Louise Staley.
Ms Richardson was lauded by the Victorian Trades Hall as a strong advocate for working people and tireless in her determination to end family violence.
In a statement on Tuesday, Ms Richardson said she had intended to work part-time next week, however she added: “My recovery is not going the way I planned”.
“I remain passionately committed to the vision shared by myself and other victim-survivors to eradicate violence in the home within a generation and to end its dangerous and costly impact on families and children,” Ms Richardson said.
After her statement, Premier Daniel Andrews paid tribute to Ms Richardson’s advocacy and her career in Parliament, which began in 2006.
“Fiona is an unwavering advocate on behalf of victim-survivors and every Victorian touched by the tragedy of family violence,” he said.
“Fiona’s work to prevent family violence continues to save lives, particularly those of women and children.”
She was elected to Parliament in November 2006 as the member for Northcote and held parliamentary secretary roles in education and treasury.
Last year, she revealed to the ABC’s Australian Story that her family had its own history of traumatic domestic violence.
“I have no memories before the age of eight that do not involve violence,” she told Australian Story.
According to Ms Richardson, her now deceased father, Ernest, was charming and charismatic.
“The problem was, of course, he wasn’t like that all the time and when he was drunk he was a very different man,” she said.
As a minister, Ms Richardson would have been responsible for implementing the changes recommended by Victoria’s Royal Commission into Family Violence.
She is survived by her husband and two children.
Health Minister Jill Hennessy will remain Acting Minister for Women and Prevention of Family Violence.