one of the better politicians in oz rip

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    Last Update: Monday, November 22, 2004. 10:39am (AEDT)
    Former Australian Democrats leader Janine Haines has died in Adelaide aged 59, after a lengthy illness.

    Ms Haines achieved numerous firsts in her political career: She was the first Australian Democrat elected to Parliament and the first woman to lead a parliamentary party.
    Born in the Barossa Valley town of Tanunda in 1945, Ms Haines entered politics in 1977 when she was appointed to fill a casual vacancy in the Senate.
    At age 41, she made history when she was elected as leader of the Democrats after the retirement of party founder Don Chipp.
    She wanted more for her party and in the run-up to the 1990 election gave up her Senate seat to run for the House of Representatives.
    The personal gamble did not pay off. She lost the bitter campaign for the Adelaide seat of Kingston even though she achieved a then-record Democrats vote.
    Ms Haines paved the way for future female leaders of the Democrats and in June 2001 became a Member of the Order of Australia for her services to Australian politics and the community.
    Democrats founder Don Chipp says Ms Haines will not be forgotten.
    "Her genuine tolerance and her great compassion and the fact that she was the best leader that the Democrats ever had," he said. "She was a great lady."
    The Democrats' leader-in-waiting, Lyn Allison, says Ms Haines's legacy is a Senate that functions as a house of review.
    Senator Allison says the strength of the Democrats in the Upper House under Ms Haines established their role as the party entrusted with balance of power.
    "In terms of the accountability of the Parliament and the Senate in particular, Janine Haines leaves a very important legacy," she said.
    "She demonstrated to women through her very charming personality, her great dignity and her integrity, that it was possible to mix it with the men in politics and still remain a very significant personality and a very intelligent and wise person."

    Prime Minister John Howard has also paid tribute to Ms Haines.

    "She was a very effective leader of the Australian democrats, a very good senator," Mr Howard said.

    "I remember her well from the time she led the Democrats in the Senate and I do want to extend to her husband Ian and the other members of her family my very deep sympathy and that of my party."

    Former opposition leader in the Senate, Fred Chaney, has paid tribute to Ms Haines.

    Mr Chaney, who is now deputy president of the Native Title Tribunal in Western Australia, says he remembers Ms Haines as a person of integrity.

    "I thought she was an effective political operator because she was beholden to neither of the major paries," he said.

    "I certainly found her a person who was rational to deal with and I thought she led the Democrats very well."
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