Today we have the immense pleasure of inducting a woman into the Women’s Agenda Hall of Fame who personifies grit, resilience and, of course, leadership beyond measure.
Magda Szubanski is someone who has touched the lives of hundreds and thousands of Australians. From her significant contributions to the stage and screen, to her profound impact and influence on last year’s plebiscite which saw same-sex marriage finally legalised.
In the all-female comedy Kath and Kim, Magda–alongside cast-mates Gina Reilly and Jane Turner–were pioneers. A primetime television slot awarded to a bunch of women? Unprecedented, but how necessary it was!
In Magda’s eyes there was a simple explanation as to why men hadn’t found women funny up till then. “It’s because men only ever experience women in relation to men: they never get to see what women are like with one another. Shows like ours started to let men in on the joke.”
But Magda’s talent as a performer ultimately stems from her fundamental empathy as a human being. She is someone who understands the absolute value of compassion and human kindness — she is fierce in her pursuit of good, but adept at connecting with the most dogged opposers too.
During the debate on same-sex marriage last year, Magda called on Australians to start the process of healing and coming together.
“This is for all of us, no matter what way we want to live our life,” she said. “None of us can live in a bubble where we try to pretend that other people don’t exist. We must find ways to reach our hands across the divide and go forward with a deep and good faith understanding of one another.”
In the midst of an ugly debate in which she was personally on the line, Magda rose high and breathed this same spirit into all Australians. How can we ever repay such a monumental gift?
Celebrating the magnificent Magda Szubanski is an absolute honour.