Joan Kirner never given credit for starting reforms

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Kirner’s parliamentary legacy, overshadowed by her status as Victoria’s first female premier and by her successor Jeff Kennett, included starting work on many government schemes and structures that still continue today.

Former Victorian premier Joan Kirner started the process of reform that was later amplified by Jeff Kennett, says former secretary of the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet Terry Moran.

Moran, who ran the state training system during Kirner’s time as education minister and was later appointed head of the then-Department of Employment and Training by her, paid tribute to the state’s first female premier following news she had died on Monday of oesophageal cancer.

“In the circumstances, I think she did a very good job as premier”, Moran told The Mandarin. The federal Hawke and Keating government reforms hit manufacturing-reliant Victoria hard — during her 1990-92 stint in power, the state was seen as Australia’s “basket case”, suffering high unemployment and a staggering economy.

The collapses of the State Bank of Victoria and the Pyramid Building society affected confidence, while revenue consequences of structural change in the economy placed huge demands on the budget.

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