For nearly 30 years, Melba Marginson has been an influential advocate, trainer and mentor for migrant and refugee women in Australia.
Melba Marginson (nee de Guzman) was born in Manila. In 1970, at the age of 16, she enrolled at the University of the Philippines. She joined the Philippine national democratic movement in 1973 and, after working as a teacher, became the secretary-general of a left-wing national teachers federation.
In 1988, she addressed an education conference in Perth, where she met her future husband – Australian academic Simon Marginson. She moved to Australia after their marriage and soon became involved in campaigns to combat the domestic violence often experienced by Filipina women in Australia. In 1994, her work helped bring about the introduction of the Domestic Violence Provisions to the Immigration Act. She has helped establish a number of organisations including the Centre for Philippine Concerns – Australia and the Victorian Immigrant and Refugee Women’s Coalition.
Marginson is currently a director of the Northern Health Board and a member of the Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia’s Women’s Committee. She has served as a director of the Victorian Women’s Trust and was appointed a commissioner of the Victorian Multicultural Commission by the state Labor government in 2000.
Marginson was inducted onto the inaugural Victorian Honour Roll of Women in 2001. In 2014 she was recognised as one of The Australian Financial Review and Westpac ‘100 Women of Influence in Australia’ and was a finalist in HESTA’s Social Impact Award.