Women’s Health West staff were saddened to hear of the passing of John Cain, Victoria’s longest serving Premier from 1982 until 1990.
Most notably we remember the former premier’s extraordinary contribution to the rights of women across Victoria. In his first month in office he took on the portfolio of minister responsible for women’s affairs, firmly establishing women as a priority for his government. He set up the first Victorian Women’s Policy Coordination Unit in the Department of Premier and Cabinet, appointing Mary Draper as the first head of the unit in 1983. All funding for women’s health services, women’s refuges and centres against sexual assault were funded during his time in office. ‘Criminal Assault in the Home’, the seminal research on domestic violence, was published by the WPCU in 1984, spurring legislative and funding changes that continue today.
John Cain’s legacy lives on in the hearts and minds of Victorian women, who continue to benefit from his vision.