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Dame Marie Breen

I see a spirit of devotion and hard work in women here, which can contribute greatly to the success of the country.

Honour Roll

Exemplary services to families and Victoria's first female Federal Senator, Dame Marie Breen was an exemplary role model, leader and forward thinker who dedicated her life to assisting women and children. She steered many organisations devoted to strengthening families and enhancing opportunities for women to contribute more fully to society.

From 1955 to 1962 she was Victorian vice president of the Liberal and Country Party. In 1962 she became Victoria's first female Federal Senator and strongly advocated the role of women as 'an asset to the nation's moral strength'. Dame Marie's other senior positions included honorary secretary of the Church of England Marriage and Guidance and Education Council; president of the Victorian Family Council; vice president of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital for Mothers and Babies; and member of the Victorian Baby Health Centre Association.

She was appointed an Officer of the British Empire in 1979 for her work as the state president of the National Council of Women Victoria (NCWV). The NCWV launched the Family Planning Association in 1970 and Marie became its first president.

She also led the forming of the UNICEF Committee for the United Nations Association of Australia's Victoria Committee and chaired it from 1969 to 1973.

After seeing the caring work done by England's Citizens Advice Bureau in the early 1970s, Dame Marie established the Victorian Association of the Citizens Advice Bureau and served as its president from 1970 to 1978. She was also president of the Australian Association of Citizens Advice Bureau and served on the Parole Board of Victoria.