Margaret Reynolds, the inaugural National President of ABC Friends, has decided to retire after 6 years of strong leadership in the position, also resigning from the ABC Friends National Committee. Cassandra Parkinson, current Vice President, will step up as President until the ABC Friends National AGM later this year.
Margaret, described as “activist, educator, author”, has had a long and distinguished career in public life. She taught in London’s East End before moving to Townsville, where she taught at the Townsville Special School. She founded the Townsville Women’s Electoral Lobby and served on Townsville City Council. Involvement in the Queensland ALP led to her election as Senator for Queensland, for 17 years from 1982 to 1999. When in government she was Minister for Local Government, with a ministerial office in Townsville and an electorate office in Mt Isa. She was also Minister Assisting the PM for the Status of Women, and was active on numerous parliamentary committees.
Post politics, Margaret served on the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation, and was Adjunct Professor at both Queensland and Tasmania Universities. She was President of the United Nations Association of Australia 2000-2005 and served on governing bodies of a number of not-for-profit organisations. She is the author of two books: The Last Bastion 1995, and Living Politics 2007. Margaret will remain active in the Tasmanian Division of ABC Friends and we wish her well with her new ventures, which include further writing on politics and women’s issues.
Cassandra Parkinson is the current President of the NSW & ACT Division of ABC Friends. She has had a long and distinguished career as a unionist and not-for-profit leader, particularly in higher education and the arts. She was elected National President unopposed, and was welcomed enthusiastically to the new role.