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Joy Mein OBE

Mrs Joy Mein, OBE, born in Melbourne in 1918, was the first female State President of any major political party in Australia.

Honour Roll

Internationally she was the Chairperson of the International Democrat Union, IWDU. Joy spent her youth in metropolitan Melbourne.

With her brother, two years her senior, she developed a sound understanding of the business world from her father who was a successful business owner, and a love and empathy for rural Australia from her mother, an accomplished violinist, who grew up in Ballarat. She was formally educated at St Margaret's Girls' School and, from an early age, demonstrated an interest in community matters and an understanding of the importance of the role of the volunteer.

After finishing secondary school at eighteen, Joy became a member of the Red Cross Link of Service. She continued active involvement with the Red Cross after she married in 1941 and moved to an isolated country property 54 miles from Hay. Through the difficult war years that saw rural Australia plagued with drought, dust storms and petrol rationing, Joy assisted her husband run a large sheep station and still travelled long distances to volunteer her time to the Red Cross.

Joy's life long involvement with community groups, voluntary organisations and ultimately her understanding that women have a special and distinctive contribution to make, has led to her public acclaim. In 1997 Joy received the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Medal for her active contribution 'to the life, progress and welfare of the Victorian community'. In 1981 she was presented with the prestigious Award of the OBE for 'outstanding service to the community'.

From her first position in 1938 as secretary to the managing director of Engineering Products Pty Ltd, to her 30 years as a Director of an engineering business, Joy continued her interest and commitment to community matters and the advancement of women.

Her interest in rural women and Liberal politics led to her election as Country Vice-President 1973-76, and ultimately as the President of the Liberal Party of Australia, Victorian Division. She continued her involvement as Federal Vice-President 1980-91 and then as State Treasurer 1992-96. Joy worked constantly to encourage and promote the participation of women in politics.

Her recognition that the international exchange of ideas served to wipe away the prejudices which even now in so many parts of the world keep well qualified women from public life, led to her involvement, and ultimate Chairmanship, of the Pacific Democrat Union Women's Committee in 1982.