Macklin joined Parliament in 1996 under former leader Kim Beazley, quickly becoming the party’s spokesperson for social security, aged care and family services. She later served in portfolios for health, women, education, employment and indigenous affairs and was deputy leader to Simon Crean, Mark Latham and Kim Beazley from 2001 to 2006.
Macklin had a formative role in the national roll out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). When the groundbreaking bill was passed in July 2013, Macklin who was Disability Reform Minister at the time, broke down as she addressed Parliament.
“This bill is an enormous step in ensuring people with disability, their families and carers, receive peace of mind,” she said.
“It will bring an end to the tragedy of services denied or delayed and instead offer people with disability the care and support they need over their lifetimes.
“It will end the cruel lottery that besets people today, where the care and support they receive depends on where they live or how they acquired their disability.”
The Federal funding of the NDIS included $342m over three years for individually funded packages for people with permanent disability; $154m to employ local coordinators and $242m to operate an NDIS IT system. It went on to assist over 300,000 struggling Australians.
During her time under both the Rudd and Gillard governments, Macklin also played a key part in the rollout of paid parental leave and the national apology to the stolen generation.
At the time of the last election, Macklin held her seat of Jagajaga in Melbourne’s northeast — with a margin of 4.5 per cent.
Labor MPs have said part of Macklin’s success was that she was never inward focusing. When the Rudd/Gillard pair-up usurped her as Deputy Leader to Kim Beazley, she just got on with the job and dedicatedly served her party.
As a minister, Macklin’s legacies have had a resounding and long-lasting impact on the country. She is yet to make an official announcement, though Labor Treasury spokesman Chris Bowen issued a statement on ABC radio this morning:
“Regardless of what she says later in the day, she has been an absolute champion of Australian working people, of the Labor cause, and whatever announcement she makes today she makes with the full blessings and the best wishes of the Labor family.”
She will be greatly missed.