The Hon. Margaret Ray MLA, AM

Margaret Ray was a passionate advocate for social justice and worked determinedly for equal rights for women.

Honour Roll

Born in Melbourne in 1933, Margaret completed an Honours Degree in Arts and a Diploma of Education and began her working career teaching at Wangaratta High School in 1956. She married in 1957 and had four children. In 1982 she successfully stood for State Parliament for the Lower House seat of Box Hill and served her electorate for the next 10 years.

Margaret recognised Neighbourhood Houses as a way of supporting women by providing opportunities to build on their formal education. As an MP she successfully secured funding for Neighbourhood Houses through two ongoing Government programs. Her advocacy over 10 years saw the number of funded houses increase from 30 to 280.

Margaret advocated protections for the In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) program under ground-breaking legislation and for the extension of the program to help more infertile couples. She has also played an important role in improving and modernising care for people with mental and physical disabilities.

As Chair of the Victorian All Party Parliamentary Social Development Committee, Margaret led the way on numerous difficult social and health matters, resulting in many landmark achievements. These included increasing palliative care in Victoria and the formation of the Mid-Eastern Palliative Care Association in 1998, which became a model for palliative care Australia-wide. She also headed a review of music education in State Government Schools that led to the extension of the primary classroom program.

Since retiring from Parliament, Margaret was involved with the Melbourne City Mission, including as a Board Member. She was also a hard-working member of the Board of the YWCA and a mentor for younger women on the Board. Through her local Uniting Church in Canterbury, Margaret supported and assisted an asylum-seeking family.

Margaret Ray was a woman of vision, courage and spirit, with a strongly-developed sense of duty of care for others in her community. She was able to motivate and support others while working whole-heartedly towards improving life standards for women and families, particularly the vulnerable and voiceless.