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.

Global Impact

Living free from violence

Our reach to help women and girls is global with Zonta Club of Brisbane providing funds to Zonta International for service projects around the world.

One service project that is close to home and our hearts, with club members involved for many years in working with ZI to have a service project in Papua New Guinea, is the Her Health and Dignity, Our Priority: Strengthening services for survivors of gender-based violence program. This program focuses on two countries in the region with the highest level of lifetime prevalence of intimate partner violence–PNG (68%) and Timor-Leste (59%). This initiative will build on the strong global and regional evidence base on what works for effective response to GBV.


Zonta International has committed US$1,000,000 to United Nations Population Fund to ensure that all women and girls in Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste live life free from violence and that those women and girls who experience violence can access quality services essential to their long-term recovery.


  • Health service providers at national and sub-national levels in selected sites in Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste will have the knowledge and capacity to deliver quality essential health services to GBV survivors in line with global guidelines.
  • Relevant government authorities at national and sub-national levels in Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste will have the capacity to establish a multi-sectoral GBV coordination mechanism.
  • All project sites have functional referral paths established in line with global guidelines.
  • At least 70% of project-trained health practitioners demonstrate an 80% increase in knowledge on survivor-centered principles for GBV response.

For more information on the program go here

To find out more about Zonta International global projects go here

If you want to donate funds to these projects go here

Latest News

Women making change

UN Women is marking International Women’s Day (IWD) 2022 with the theme Changing Climates—Equality today for a sustainable tomorrow. The theme celebrates and recognises the contribution of women and girls around the world who are creating a sustainable future by working towards changing the climate of gender equality.

For the month of March Zonta Club of Brisbane gave a shout out to Queensland women making change and leading the way for women and girls to be safe, celebrated, successful and live with respect.

Here is our list of amazing changemakers:

Sonia Colvin Hairdressers with Heart

Sonia Colvin is founder of Hairdressers with Hearts (HwH), a not-for-profit organisation that takes a proactive approach against DV and elder abuse by harnessing the intimate and trusting relationship between Australia’s 67,000 hairdressers and barbers and their clients. HwH believes that by empowering hairdressers and barbers with the correct resources and appropriate training they can make a difference in the lives of many Australians.

Hairdressers and barbers are frontline in the community, reaching people on a grassroots level, having intimate conversations with clients walking through their door. HWH came to fruition after a conversation Sonia had with a DV worker at Caboolture Courthouse in 2012. Since then, she has worked tirelessly to support victims of DV and elder abuse building an incredible organisation that continues growing in reputation and esteem. Without Sonia’s tenacity in overcoming hurdles and following her dream this community service would not exist. Sonia was inducted into the QLD Domestic Violence Prevention Honour Roll in 2021.

Sallymatu Kuyateh Founder My Goal Saver

Sallymatu Kuyateh is founder and owner of My Goal Saver, which helps women and families from non-English speaking backgrounds now calling Australia home to save money and buy their first family home. Born in Sierra Leone in west Africa, Sallymatu fled the civil war in 1991 to Ghana where she lived in a refugee camp. Despite the difficulties of being displaced from her family and her country, she did her chartered accountancy course and secured jobs as a trainee accountant and internal auditor. She migrated to Australia in 2005 and has made her mark with the Brisbane Ethnic Music and Arts Centre (BEMAC), past president of Queensland African Community Council, secretary of Soroptimist

International Logan branch (SIL) and the Treasure of Muslim Charitable Foundation (MCF). Sally is also the CEO and founder of Empathy Community Services – an NDIS-registered organisation that is culturally oriented and person-centred to care for the vulnerable in our community. She also works for Translink. A true changemaker, Sallymatu is changemaker empowering women and vulnerable people in our society. Oh, and she is also a Local Legend in the Logan 2020 Australia Day honours awarded by Dr Jim Chalmers MP, Member for Rankin.

Aimee McVeigh, CEO Queensland Council of Social Service

Aimee McVeigh, CEO of Queensland Council of Social Services, is a passionate advocate for equality, opportunity and well-being for all Queenslanders. She believes lifting up and enabling Queensland’s women is essential to achieving this vision. We acknowledge and applaud Aimee’s impact as a lawyer, human rights advocate and leader – impact We acknowledge and applaud Aimee’s impact as a lawyer, human rights advocate and leader – impact she accredits to the incredible women she works with. QCOSS represents the voice of the community sector in Queensland – a sector where 4 of every 5 workers is a woman who is dedicating her energy toward better lives for Queenslanders. We love QCOSS’ vision to achieve equality, opportunity and wellbeing for every person, in every community.

Rochelle Courtney Managing Director Share the Dignity

Rochelle Courtney is Australia’s pad lady determined to end period poverty.  She is the Founder and Managing Director of Share the Dignity, a charity she started single-handedly in 2015 when she realised homeless women in Australia struggled to access period products during their menstrual cycle. Share the Dignity started from a simple, grassroots idea from which she forged ah…

Share the Dignity started from a simple, grassroots idea from which she forged ahead on the belief that one person could indeed make a difference.

Her dedication inspired others to join. Today she leads a team of over 6000 volunteers determined to bring a ray of hope and light into the lives of homeless women and those fleeing domestic violence and abuse. Share the Dignity has donated over 3.3 million period products (over $69 million worth) through multiple initiatives across Australia. The organisation’s advocacy helped axe the tampon tax in 2018 and is now working to ensure all public hospitals offer free sanitary items to those who need them. Rochelle has also won recognition and accolades for her work including Finalist Australian of the Year, Cosmopolitan Humanitarian of the Year and Pride of Australia.

Share the Dignity

Thelma Schwartz Zonta Club of Brisbane Advancement of Women Award Winner 2021

Thelma Schwartz is the principal legal officer of the Queensland Indigenous Family Violence Legal Service (QIFVLS), an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled organisation providing legal and non-legal support services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander victims and survivors of family violence and sexual assault in Queensland. In 2018, in recognition of her work in regional and remote Queensland, Thelma was the award recipient of the Regional Woman Lawyer of the Year 2018 by the Women Lawyer’s Association of Queensland. Thelma has extensive practice experiences working with and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, in the provision of legal services in regional, rural and remote Queensland. Every day Thelma is working to create positive change for victims and survivors of family violence and is tireless in her advocacy to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and their children, taking this advocacy to a national

Cathy Hunt, Women of the World Festival

Cathy Hunt is a change maker extraordinaire, who throughout her career has ‘disrupted’ the traditional mindset around funding and financing the arts. She is also the Executive Director of cultural enterprise Of One Mind, producers of the WOW (Women of the World) Festivals in Australia and is an advisor to the Global WOW Foundation. WOW imagines a world where gender does not impact of

life’s outcomes, through a cultural program of both celebration and conversation around the societal impacts of gender inequality. Following the success of WOW as part of the 2018 Commonwealth Games, Cathy is leading a team to develop and deliver WOW Australia in Queensland from 2020-2022 and just delivered a very successful WOW in Longreach. The next WOW is in Cairns in June and then Logan. Make sure you join her there!

Margaret McMurdo AC

Long time Zonta Club of Brisbane member the Honourable Margaret McMurdo, AC, is chair of the Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce. A former President of the Queensland Court of Appeal first admitted as a barrister of the Supreme Court of Queensland in 1976, Margaret’s leadership has been a beacon for women in the law and women impacted by the law. She was a founding committee member of the Women Lawyers Association and the first woman to be appointed a judge of the District Court of Queensland and the Childrens Court of Queensland. She continues to answer the call to service as Chair of the Board of Legal Aid Queensland, Chair of the Board of Governors of Queensland Community Foundation and Board of Queensland and now chair of the Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce.

Professor Sarah Holland-Batt

Sarah Holland-Batt is an award-winning Australian writer, editor and critic, and a Professor of Creative Writing at QUT. She is the author of three books of poems—Aria (2008), The Hazards (2016) and The Jaguar (2022)and a book of essays, Fishing for Lightning (2021), collecting her columns on contemporary poetry for The Australian. She is also the writer of The Sopranos, a new show in Opera Queensland’s 2022 season exploring the representation of women in opera. Her writing has been recognised with numerous prizes, and she is the recipient of a Sidney Myer Creative Fellowship, residencies at Yaddo and MacDowell in the United States, an Asialink Literature Residency in Japan, and an Australia Council Literature Residency at the B.R. Whiting Studio in Rome, among other honours. In 2016, she was awarded the Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Poetry. She is also a prominent advocate for aged care reform and works to support reform of Australia’s aged care sector to ensure safe and dignified care for older Australians.

Amanda Dalton

Amanda Dalton is the founder & CEO of Protea Place Inc.  She has over 20 years’ experience in the Social Services Sector and identified the need for a woman’s support centre in Toowoomba.  Amanda has extensive knowledge and experience in complex cases, homelessness, DFV, community & program development and service management. As the region’s only Women’s Centre, Protea Place is a grassroots community response and as yet, receives no Government funding. We support around 2000 presentations each year since opening in 2019. Protea Place is a unique response to a range of issues that women may be experiencing including homelessness, domestic and family violence and any other life trauma. Situated in a lovely old home in the Toowoomba CBD, allowing easy access for women in need with all the comforts of a home environment. Everything from showers, laundry facilities, hot lunch, clothing boutique, toiletries right through to housing, employment and legal assistance. A one stop shop for women in need. Protea Place also has a strong commitment to assisting older women who may be experiencing housing insecurity. For more information, please head to

Quentin Bryce AD CVO

For more than 60 years Quentin Bryce has been at the forefront of change for women, and we felt it was fitting for her to the final woman in our Women Change Makers series. Since the 1960s when she graduated with the degrees of Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws from The University of Queensland and, in the same year, was admitted to the Queensland Bar she has made an immense contribution to public life in Australia and always at the forefront of her work has been a concern for women, families, children, regional communities and Indigenous. She is no stranger to firsts – she recently opened the very first t Women of the World Festival to be held in Longreach. She is a true trail blazer who instigates change in her own calm, strong and consultative way. Her rich and distinguished career has seen her be a first in many roles including the Inaugural Director, Queensland Women’s Information Service, Office of the Status of Women, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet; founding Chair and CEO, National Childcare Accreditation Council; the first female Governor of Queensland; and the first female Governor-General.


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

Latest News

Make a difference!

Here’s an opportunity to make a difference. Calling all young women who aspire to make a difference in public life. The Zonta International Young Women in Public Affairs bursary is open for applications. This award is close to us here at the Zonta Club of Brisbane as it was started while charter Club member Leneen Forde AC was International President o Zonta. We are looking for:
·      Young women aged 16-19 years
·      Active champion and advocate for civic causes

This award offers three opportunities through the one application:
$500 bursary awarded by the Zonta Club of Brisbane
– $1500US state prize
– $5000US international prize

How to enter: check out all the information here on the Zonta International website.

Here’s a PDF poster if you want to print!
You need to enter via a local club so send your application email to
Applications close: 21 March 2022
If you are a potential applicant or you know someone who is please share!! This is a terrific opportunity for a young women to take their place in public life and speak out on issues that matter for women. 

Education Awards

Esther’s education boost

We love to hear from the young women who receive one of our Zonta Education Awards.

This year, Yeronga High School Student Esther Etoka contacted us to let us know how much she appreciated receiving the award, a $500 bursary that goes to the school to enable winning students to pay for schooling needs.

“I sincerely thank you for your award that will help me assist with my study fees,” Esther said.

“I am very sure it will be helpful to me and lift me to another level in my studies. I am hopeful that this gift will help me fulfil the objective of Zonta club which is to stand for women’s rights.”

Zonta Club of Brisbane member Judith Anderson, who presented Esther with her award certificate, said: “Like every member of the Zonta Club of Brisbane, I was delighted to see Esther  receive our Education Encouragement Award. She is a most worthy winner and a fine model of Zonta’s mission and goals.”

Since 2000 Zonta Club of Brisbane has provided education awards provide encouragement to financially disadvantaged young women to complete Year 12.

The award is valued at $500 and goes to a female student at  six high schools in Brisbane: Mabel Park State High School; Bundamba State Secondary College; Glenala State High School; Aviation High; Marsden State High School; and Yeronga State High School.

To read more about the awards go here

Latest News

Maria nurses ambition

Maria Guillena has worked hard to achieve her dream to be a nurse.

Now that dream is closer thanks to her own determination and some assistance from Zonta Club of Brisbane.

Maria the 2021 Kingston Learning College Award which is a $2000 bursary to assist young women to meet any financial challenges to encourage them to progress to a tertiary education.

Maria Guillena has graduated from Kingston Learning College and will attend Logan and Southbank TAFEs in 2022 with a view to applying to transfer to nursing at UQ in 2023. 

Maria is originally from the Philippines and has struggled financially to study and live. She is very hard working and finds time to volunteer to support older people and high school students.  

To show her support and thanks to Zonta, Maria wore orange and black on her graduation day – the campaign colours for the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence.

Maria is originally from the Philippines and has no family in Brisbane and has been  very much part of the College family. She will buy a laptop computer as a priority. She currently travels to libraries to do her study. She was so excited she danced up to the podium and gave our Zonta Club member  Lesley Chenoweth a big hug!

For more information on the Education Awards go here

Latest News

50 and Fabulous!

What a night!  Zonta Club of Brisbane celebrated its 50th anniversary on 8 November with a gala dinner that also marked the winner of the Advancement of Women Award for 2021.

The event – a gala dinner at the United Service Club – was an opportunity for members, club alumni and supporters to celebrate the Club’s proud history of realising Zonta’s vision and decades of working to support and help women and girls.

A lot has changed since we started in 971 when Dorothy Thompson, on behalf of the Zonta Club of Toronto One, came to Brisbane to form the first Zonta Club in Queensland.  But then a lot hasn’t as the club still has a strong core of service, advocacy and fellowship.

Zonta’s motto is Empowering Women Through Service and Advocacy. Throughout our 50 years we have supported women’s shelters, funded safety cards containing information for women and children escaping domestic violence and have lobbied governments for women’s shelters.

Read more here about our 50th dinner and check out our photos and memory well of women who have been part of the Zonta Club of Brisbane’s amazing history.

Latest News

Playing the winner!

History did repeat at the awarding of this year’s Zonta Club of Brisbane Babette Stephens Award.

The $1000 award was won by Queensland University of Technology student Harper McIlroy and presented at a performance of Shakespeare In a Suitcase by students where there were two former winners of the award in the audience.

Also at the performance was a former Babette Stephens award winner Miyuki Lotz who won the award in 2006. Miyuki has returned to Brisbane after working in the US and has been working in movies as well as winning roles in Queensland Theatre productions such as White Pearl and Return to the Dirt.

2020 winner Stevie-Lorelle Answerth was also in attendance as well as Dr Andrea Moor, Senior Lecturer in Acting at QUT, who has extensive professional background having worked extensively in theatre, film, television and radio both in Australia and overseas.

The Babette Stephens Award is given in honour of Zonta Club of Brisbane’s first Club President, Babette Stephens who was a charter member of the club from 1971.

Photo: Stevie-Lorelle Answerth, Harper McIlroy, Miyuki Lotz.

For more information on the award go here

Latest News

Prize supports dream

Congratulations to Rhianna Crosthwaite, awarded the 2021 Leneen Forde Zonta Scholarship.

Rhianna is in the final year of study for a Bachelor of Midwifery at Griffith University.

A mother of seven children, she has wanted to be a midwife all her life and she now can accomplish her dreams.

“I would like to start by thanking the members of Zonta and Leneen Forde for the opportunity provided by this scholarship,” Rhianne said.

“I have wanted to be a midwife my entire life.  Leaving school, I started a Bachelor of Nursing with the plan to go on to midwifery postgraduate study.  After 12 months my then immature self, decided to drop out in favour of a paying job, thinking I would return to study once I was living independently.  At 19 I married and then the following year had my first child. 

“I quit my career in medical administration management and 12 months later enrolled into the first year of a Bachelor of Social Work to get a ranking high enough to get into the highly competitive Bachelor of Midwifery.  The day I got my acceptance email into midwifery was one of the happiest of my life!”

Rhianna, her husband and her family – her daughters range in age from 4-22 years old – have sacrificed a lot for her to get to this point but she is determined. Now in her final year of study, she has followed a Midwifery Group Practice midwife full-time, attending all antenatal appointments, births and postnatal appointments for the 35 women she has a continuity relationship with. 

The Leneen Forde Zonta Scholarship offers $2000 is offered to a female who is a full-time student, enrolled in an undergraduate degree program at Griffith University Logan Campus, had successfully completed the first three semesters of her degree program with good academic standing, and could demonstrate that they were in significant financial hardship.

Rhianna said: “This scholarship has made a huge difference in my life so that now all I have to worry about is finishing my final assignments, working with my preceptor midwife and applying for graduate midwife jobs.  My family thanks you all.”

For more information on the scholarship go here