Former minister, super industry advocate dies, aged 77

— 1 minute read

Susan Ryan, a former Labor senator and minister who was also president of the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST) died on Sunday, aged 77.

The AIST alongside Women in Super (WIS) has paid tribute to past AIST president Ms Ryan, who held the role with the association from 2000 to 2007. 

Prior to joining the superannuation industry body, Ms Ryan had been the ACT’s first female senator in 1975, with the campaign slogan: “a woman’s place is in the senate”. 


She had also served as Minister for Education and Youth Affairs and Minister assisting the Prime Minister for the Status of Women in the Hawke Labor government. Ms Ryan resigned from the Senate in 1988.

AIST chief executive Eva Scheerlinck called Ms Ryan a champion of the people, who never lost sight of the social policy side of super. 

“Susan was a passionate champion of a dignified retirement for all,” Ms Scheerlinck said.

“Her work in the human rights sphere spanned women’s rights, the rights of elderly Australians and those living with a disability. She had genuine compassion for vulnerable people and had a great gift for communicating why policy change was needed to improve outcomes.”

Women in Super chair Cate Wood said Ms Ryan’s advocacy for women’s rights in the workplace had been a natural segue to her role calling for reforms to superannuation policy to improve retirement outcomes for women. 

“Susan leaves a legacy of work that improved the rights of women and other vulnerable Australians, both during their working life and in their retirement,” Ms Wood said.

“Susan had great humour and charm and encouraged and assisted other women to succeed.”

AIST chief membership officer Maryann Mannix-White, who was general manager of AIST during Ms Ryan’s tenure as president, remembered her as an avid supporter of trustee education.

“She was a passionate supporter of profit-to-member super and ensuring that our governance model was underpinned by a high standard of trustee education,” Ms Mannix-White said.


Former minister, super industry advocate dies, aged 77
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Sarah Simpkins

Sarah Simpkins

Sarah Simpkins is a journalist at Momentum Media, reporting primarily on banking, financial services and wealth. 

Prior to joining the team in 2018, Sarah worked in trade media and produced stories for a current affairs program on community radio. 

You can contact her on [email protected].


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