The Courier-Mail

Cancer claims former premier Joan Kirner

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AUSTRALIAN political pioneer Joan Kirner has died aged 76 after a battle with cancer.

Ms Kirner led Labor in government in Victoria from 1990 until 1992.

The party elected her to take over as leader after John Cain resigned. She was Victoria’s first female premier and the second woman to lead an Australian state government.

Known as a lifelong conservati­onist and a staunch advo- cate for women, Ms Kirner was elected to the Legislativ­e Council in 1982.

In 1988, she shifted to the Legislativ­e Assembly, winning the seat of Williamsto­wn.

As the state’s education minister, Ms Kirner embarked on controvers­ial and ambitious reforms, including an overhaul of school testing.

Under Ms Kirner, Labor lost the 1992 state election to Jeff Kennett amid a struggling economy and a high jobless rate. After bowing out of politics in 1994, the outspoken leader remained active in the community.

Ms Kirner was diagnosed with oesophagea­l cancer in 2013, and underwent chemothera­py and radiothera­py treatment.

Ms Kirner is survived by her husband, Ron, their three children and their four grandchild­ren.

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