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Victorian MP Fiona Richardson dies after cancer battle

Victorian MP Fiona Richardson has died after a battle with cancer. Picture: Peter Ristevski

VICTORIAN MP Fiona Richardson has died after a battle with cancer.

The Labor MP, the state’s first Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence, had taken an extended leave of absence after being diagnosed with multiple tumours.

Fiona Richardson has died after a battle with cancer. Picture: Mark Stewart

It was the second time the member for Northcote had fought serious illness.

She recovered from breast cancer in 2013.

Colleagues who had hoped she would return to parliament after recovering from surgery were devastated tonight by the shock news.

Ms Richardson and her husband, former ALP state secretary Stephen Newnham, have two children.

In a statement on Tuesday, she said she had hoped to return to work but a setback meant she would not recontest her northern suburbs seat.

“I intended to return to work part-time next week; however, my recovery is not going the way I had planned.

“Unfortunately I will be extending my leave of absence to concentrate on my health. Thank you all for your support and well wishes,” she said.

We’ve lost a remarkable, brave and inspirational woman. This is so sad. Thinking tonight of everything Fiona Richardson achieved.

— Bill Shorten (@billshortenmp) August 23, 2017

Vale Fiona Richardson MP. The sadness at Spring Street will be immense. To her family, friends, colleagues, my thoughts, sympathy and love.

— Matthew Guy MP (@MatthewGuyMP) August 23, 2017

Ms Richardson had been a passionate advocate for women’s rights and tackling family violence, which she had experienced first-hand.

The minister, who was first elected in 2006, recently returned to her birth country of Tanzania for an ABC TV Australian Story program about her violent family history.

The emotional story was also recounted in parliament, as she vowed the government would implement the findings of the Royal Commission into Family Violence.

Just devastated that Fiona Richardson MP a wonderful human being has just died My heart goes out to her family and colleagues #springst

— Fiona Patten MP (@FionaPattenMLC) August 23, 2017

This week, when Ms Richardson announced she would not seek re-election, Premier Daniel Andrews said she was “an incredibly strong voice for the people of Northcote” and Australia’s first Minister for Family Violence Prevention.

Mr Andrews said Ms Richardson was “an unwavering advocate (for) victim survivors, and every Victorian touched by the tragedy of family violence” and her work “continues to save lives, particularly women and children”.

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