Tea, scones for 70 years' Labor membership

JOAN PURTELL, 91, was bemused by the fuss when an afternoon tea was held in her honour.

The Bendigo resident has been a member of the Australian Labor Party for an astonishing 70 years and Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews was on hand to give her a framed certificate to honour her faithful membership.

Over tea with scones and cakes, Mr Andrews said 70 years was an amazing achievement.

“It’s appropriate that we recognise the true believers and legends, people who have done so much for their community, their family and indeed their broader family, that is the Labor Party family," Mr Andrews said.

Mrs Purtell said she had been a member for so long because she supported its values.

“I believe in Labor,” she said. “I was always interested in what was going on.”

Mrs Purtell said all her family had been ALP supporters except for a short time when her sister Beth “got snobby” one year and decided to vote Liberal.

“We had to go to vote and she had something wrong with her eyes, she couldn’t see properly,” Mrs Purtell recalled.

“She wanted me to help her (vote) and I said “I’m not going to help you!”

“I never really forgave her for that.”

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