Legislative Council: Wednesday, October 19, 2022


Augusta Zadow Awards

The Hon. I. PNEVMATIKOS (14:52): My question is to the Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector. Will the minister inform the council about the work undertaken by the recipients of this year's Augusta Zadow Awards?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (14:52): I thank the honourable member for her question and particularly her interest in industrial relations and her lifelong commitment to protecting the rights and conditions of working South Australians. Before speaking about the recipients of this year's awards, it is worth taking a moment to reflect on the incredible legacy of the woman whose name honours these awards.

Augusta Zadow was born in 1846 and emigrated to Australia with her husband and young son in 1877, having been born in Germany and travelled throughout Europe working as a seamstress, where she observed the terrible working conditions of women in clothing factories. Upon her arrival in Adelaide, Augusta became a fierce trade unionist and advocate for working women in the textile industry. A tribute published after her death described her immense work ethic, stating, and I quote:

From the first, her warmest sympathies went out to the working women of the city and every case of distress coming under her observation was assisted to the utmost limit of her means.

Augusta helped establish the Working Women's Trade Union and became a delegate to the United Trades and Labour Council. She was also an active campaigner for the enfranchisement of women. After years of tirelessly campaigning, in 1895 the Shops and Factories Act was passed and Augusta was appointed by Premier Charles Kingston as South Australia's, as was titled at the time, Lady Inspector of Factories, overseeing the safety and working conditions of women and children.

Sadly, Augusta passed away from influenza shortly afterwards in 1896. She was laid to rest at the West Terrace Cemetery, where her funeral was attended by the Premier and cabinet members, as well as dozens of the women factory workers she had supported throughout her life. An inscription on her gravestone appropriately reads:

Erected by her friends and fellow workers as a token of our appreciation of her self-denying efforts on behalf of the struggling and oppressed.

Augusta's legacy continues to be honoured with the annual Augusta Zadow Awards, an initiative of SafeWork SA, which provides funding and recognition for projects, research or further education that improves the health and safety of women and young workers in South Australia.

Previous recipients of the award have included a project by Stephanie Schmidt to build psychological flexibility and wellness for farmers, farming businesses and farming families; a project by the Flinders Health and Medical Research Institute to build education, training and support materials for young workers based on the experience of early-career paramedics; and a project by Stephen Sverchek and Larry Waller to test the effectiveness of the virtual reality training for forklift operations among young people.

I wasn't able to attend this year's awards, but I have certainly been present at past awards where some of the abovementioned winners were awarded. This year's awards were recently presented by the Governor of South Australia, Her Excellency the Hon. Frances Adamson AC, at a ceremony at Government House on Friday 7 October. I note that there were quite a number of members of both chambers of this parliament in attendance at those awards on 7 October.

This year's awards were awarded to two projects. Hayley Davies and Eva Jakob were awarded for a project to raise awareness of endometriosis in the workplace by educating staff and employers about its effects on workplace safety and decreased economic participation, and Paige Cross was separately awarded for a project to design and deliver induction workshops for young workers in the agriculture industry in South Australia to improve work health and safety and build the capacity of workers to communicate about work health and safety issues. I commend the winners for their excellent work and look forward to seeing the development of these projects in the future.