Taskforce Justice

The Zonta Club of Brisbane congratulates member the Honourable Margaret McMurdo and the Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce on all their recommendations from the first report ‘Hear Her Voice’ handed down in December being accepted by the Queensland Government. The historic announcement of a $363 million package of reforms includes legislating against coercive control, a Commission of Inquiry into how the Queensland Police Service responds to domestic and family violence, expansion and increased support of DFV Courts, a special strategy for First Nations communities, a co-responder model between police and DV services and increased respectful relationships education to all Queensland children and young people. 

The Honourable Margaret McMurdo spoke to the Zonta Club of Brisbane in April about the work of the taskforce and the many hours of testimony heard over the past months across the state which helped inform the report. The Government also announced Judge Deborah Richards to lead a Commission of Inquiry to examine Queensland Police Service responses to domestic and family violence.

As part of Domestic and Family Violence Prevention month we will be posting to our social media sites information on how to help women find help and also what can be done to stop violence against women. Make sure you follow Zonta Club of Brisbane Facebook and Instagram.

The final Taskforce report is due by the end of June and more details about the recommendations to be actioned are here. 

Photo: Zonta President 2020-22 Gwendolen Jull and the Honourable Margaret McMurdo AC.


Older women housing boost

The Queensland Government has listened to women and announced a $14 million fund to build new homes and deliver specialised housing support services to older women, ensuring they have the security and stability of a home.

Zonta Club of Brisbane member Susan Davies, also President of Sharing with Friends and a member of the Housing Older Women (HOW) movement, said the announcement would help fund innovative housing solutions.

“Housing Minister Leeanne Enoch has embraced Imaginative approaches to solving this horrendous issue of older Womens housing,” Susan said. “Public/private initiatives (like this funding) will spread solutions a lot further than relying on just social housing (as vital as it is!).

“Queensland can be proud of this breakthrough approach and the fact that the Government has  listened to Sharing with Friends and women of lived experience.”

 As part of the Housing Outcomes for Older Women Initiative $8 million will build new homes designed for and by older women and $5.94 million to establish a specialised housing support hub.

Minister Enoch said: “Older women are the fastest growing group to experience homelessness in Australia and our unprecedented investment in social and affordable housing will shift the dial to ensure the most vulnerable cohorts across our communities have the rights supports in place.

“The Department of Communities, Housing and Digital Economy (DCHDE) has been working with a sponsor group comprising members from the Housing Older Women (HOW) Movement, Sharing with Friends and QShelter to co-design a package of support which is informed by women with lived experience.”

The specialist services hub will be a single-entry point that connects women to housing, homelessness, renting, health, and financial support services.

“We want to help women receive early intervention and assistance to avoid homelessness, navigate the service system and access coordinated housing and support options.

“The hub is the first of its kind in Queensland and signals a new era in the provision of information and support services to better meet the needs of at-risk older Queensland women.”

The Housing Outcomes for Older Women Initiative is being delivered in partnership with the Housing Older Women Movement, Sharing with Friends and QShelter. It is a step closer to older women being able to live in their forever home under innovative approaches such as Sharing With Friends, which would see five women live in a house as owner and sharing common areas.

Housing older women has been a key advocacy project for Zonta Club of Brisbane with Susan Davies also a member of the HOWZing committee made up of Zonta clubs across Queensland.

Women over the age of 55 are the fastest growing cohort of homeless people and there has been a 31% increase in this group between 2011 and 2016, while 44% of single women in Australia over 45 are on low and medium in their own home and are renting.

An advisory group consisting of older women with lived experience of homelessness and key stakeholders including the Housing Older Women Movement, QShelter and Sharing with Friends.

Caption: Susan Davies (right) with Meaghan Scanlon Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef and Minister for Science and Youth Affairs

Read the statement

Sharing with Friends

Read the Housing Initiative flyer


Homeless action stations

For two years, Zonta District 22, which comprises clubs across Queensland, has been working with the HOW Movement (Housing Older Women) to bring about solutions to the shocking scale of older women at risk of homelessness in Queensland.

Several Zonta members have joined HOW working groups including Zonta Club of Brisbane’s Susan Davies, Anne Landsberg and Kate Rose. Susan Davies (pictured with Kate Rose) recently took part in a HOW workshop that developed these five wide-ranging initiatives:

  1. A specialist advisory service where older women at risk do not have to use unfamiliar technology to access help and friendly information (based on the Victorian Home at Last model).
  2. Support for at least three innovative schemes to demonstrate new ways of providing suitable affordable housing for older women.
  3. Town planning regulations reform to enable more suitable houses to be built.
  4. Access land for new housing projects for older women.
  5. Support for a display village to showcase innovative housing designs such as co-housing, tiny homes and other initiatives endorsed by the HOW movement to raise awareness and to see that change and hope is possible.

To read the latest edition of the HOW newsletter go here


We will not be silent

Advocacy is about speaking up to be heard to make change.

So we have to feature the now landmark quote by Grace Tame, 2021 Australian of the Year, when she stood up at the  March4Justice event in Tasmania on 15 March and said:

As often is the case when an issue that has been shrouded in darkness for such a long time is suddenly thrust into the light, there’s widespread shock and disbelief over how something so evil could happen and not just happen, but happens so ubiquitously and the answer is so plain and simple: silence.

Evil thrives in silence. Behaviour ignored is behaviour endorsed.”

Such an apt quote is so apt for advocacy!


A Zonta Mantle

For nearly a year, 10 Zonta clubs in South East Queensland have collaborated to distribute the Handy Guide for Older Women, written and published by the Lady Musgrave Trust. They form a mantle of willing delivery drivers who are notified of any new order for Handy Guides (community organisations contact The Trust, in the first instance) and jump into their trusty vehicles and deliver to the door. It has saved The Trust thousands in courier fees.

The project combines Zonta’s fierce interest in preventing homelessness, and a wide geographic spread. It is a logical and (deceptively) effortless use of our resources and our members’ commitment.

This Zonta coalition is being coordinated by Zonta Club of Brisbane – other participating clubs are:

  • Redcliffe
  • Paradise Point
  • Caloundra
  • Ipswich
  • Noosa
  • City Heart
  • Brisbane North
  • Pine Rivers
  • Beaudesert


We want action

Zonta District 22’s HOWZing project that seeks to reduce homelessness in older women is ramping up its efforts to push politicians to find solutions.

In the run up to the Queensland Government State election on 31 October, the HOWZing Committee is calling Queensland Zonta clubs to put homelessness in older women front and centre for all candidates. Zonta District 22 has approved the campaign to write to all contesting candidates and to provide them with a series of questions.

Zonta Club of Brisbane’s Advocacy Chair Susan Davies, who is on the HOWZing committee with Glynnis Gartside, said this action was vital with over a quarter of a million older women set to become the unseen victims of the post-pandemic recession in Queensland. The number of older women at risk of homelessness is now at 282,601 (ABS 2018) and rising at an alarming rate.

In the media release for the Queensland State Election 2020 District Governor Bridget Mather urges all candidates to place the scourge of escalating homelessness among older women front and centre in their housing platform for the upcoming election.

District Governor Mather called for measures specifically tailored to helping the “Hidden Homeless” – an Information Call Centre, increased expenditure on social housing, and local and state government support for new innovative housing models.

Media release

Howzing Newsletter

Questions to candidates


Homelessness Project unites Zonta Clubs

In a first for District 22, a total of 13 SEQ Zonta clubs coordinated by Brisbane Club’s Advocacy chairperson Susan Davies have joined together on a project to combat homelessness in older women. Using their local knowledge each club contributed to a Master Distribution List for The Lady Musgrave Trust’s Handy Guide for Older Women. In August each club will personally distribute the booklets to key organisations designed to reach older women at risk of homelessness.This is part of our over-arching HOWZ-ing initiative seeking to spotlight the lack of options for older Queensland women.

FREE! Make sure you register for The Trust’s online Forum on Homelessness August 5 10am- 12pm




Homelessness in Older Women

The Zonta Club of Brisbane’s signature project for 2020 was Homelessness in Older Women and we have since worked on acheiving wins for women at risk. Women over the age of 55 are the fastest growing category of people either on the verge of, or actually experiencing homelessness. The Club has worked in collaboration with the Lady Musgrave Trust in their 2020 Ending Homelessness for Older Women Project.

Karen Lyon Reid, CEO, of the Lady Musgrave Trust, and Jennifer Clarke, Board Member, from The Lady Musgrave Trust joined us at our Club dinner meeting in October 2019 to discuss the project.
Since then club member Susan Davies has been working in collaboration with the Lady Musgrave Trust, attending a Critical Friends Group meeting, towards contributing to project development and shaping Zonta’s contribution.

There has also been an unbelievably generous anonymous donation of $20,000 to the Lady Musgrave Trust in recognition of the Zonta Club of Brisbane’s commitment to supporting the LMT. We are extremely appreciative of this donation and offer our unreserved thanks.

The club’s efforts for this signature project will focus on advocacy and service in addressing the problem of Homelessness in Older Women. At the District 22 Areas 1 and 3 meeting in February 2020 there was an inspiring presentation by Karen Lyon Reid and Jenny Clark. Susan Davies is now working with other Zonta clubs on a new project called HowZing, which will for the first time will see clubs in Areas 1 and 3 work together on a signature issue through their Advocacy committees.

The work continues through the HOW movement and to find out more read the December 2021 newsletter here.


Lores Bonney Riverwalk

In early 2016, Zonta Brisbane’s Advocacy Committee began lobbying the Brisbane City Council to commemorate Australia’s greatest woman flyer Lores Bonney as part of the Kingsford Smith Drive Upgrade. Following this consultation with the Zonta Club of Brisbane and with the Royal Historical Society of Queensland, the Brisbane City Council announced that the new Kingsford Smith Drive riverside promenade and cycle path would be named the Lores Bonney Riverwalk. The Riverwalk was opened on 22 June 2019.

The naming of the Lores Bonney Riverwalk places our very own Australian aviatrix in the forefront of Australian aviation history, inspired by US hero Amelia Earhart. Lores Bonney learnt to fly at Eagle Farm airport in a de Havilland DH-60G Gipsy Moth biplane. Lores was a quiet achiever but her achievements in the 1930’s speak for themselves.

  • 1931: First woman to circumnavigate Australia by air
  • 1932: First woman to fly from Australia to England
  • 1937: First person to fly from Australia to South Africa

For her Australia-England flight, Lores Bonney was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire by King George V. The Bonney Trophy, which she presented in England, is still awarded annually to an outstanding British female pilot. World War Two interrupted her flying and Lores relinquished her licence in 1948.

Lores Bonney retired to the Gold Coast, Queensland where she lived for another 50 years. She died on 24 February 1994, aged 96. Tributes to the aviatrix flowed with The Royal Queensland Aero Club mounting a fly-past and Parliament of Australia acknowledging her role in the development of Australian and international aviation.