Obituary for Jenny Austin
This wonderful tribute for the late Jenny Austin, former Advocate columnist and NTEU Southern Cross University Branch President, appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald on 3 October 2011.
Egalitarian admired for living out her principles
Jenny Austin, 1951-2011
In her last column for the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) magazine The Advocate, in July 2010, Jenny Austin argued that there had never been a more urgent time for the union movement to educate people about the "importance of solidarity".
For over 40 years, her commitment to left-wing politics, feminism and egalitarianism never wavered. She was not the sort who paid lip service to these ideologies - she very much led by example. Her whole life was a lesson in what could be achieved if people refused to be defined by their backgrounds.
She proved that a young, working-class, single mother of three small children with little formal education could forge a career and take a university degree. She showed it was possible for a white woman to be a much loved ''aunty'' to Aboriginal friends and neighbours. And she put into action her desire for a more equitable world by doing voluntary and low-paid work for marginalised communities.