WOMEN MEMBERS OF TASMANIAN STATE PARLIAMENT
FEMALE FRANCHISE - TASMANIA
Tasmanian women became eligible to vote in House of Assembly
elections in 1904 following a change to the eligibility criteria from
'man' to 'person' in the Constitution Act 1903. Although this allowed
women to vote they were still not eligible to stand for election to either
In October 1920 women who had served as nurses in the First
World War became eligible to vote in Legislative Council elections (Constitution
(War Service Franchise) Act, 4/1920).
In 1921 women were granted the right to stand for election.
This change permitted Alicia O'Shea-Petersen and Edith Waterworth to stand
in Denison and Annette Youl to stand in Wilmot (now Lyons), albeit unsuccessfully,
in June 1922 (Constitution Amendment Act, 61/1921).
In 1928 compulsory voting for both women and men was introduced
(Electoral Act, 55/1928).
In 1930 it became mandatory to enrol to vote at Federal
and State elections (Constitution Act, 94/1930).
In 1941 the franchise for the Legislative Council was extended
to all '... servicemen and women in any war' and the age limit reduced
from 30 years to 21 years, or lower for serving members of the armed forces
(Constitution Act, 66/1941).
In 1954 the spouses of property owners, who were mainly
men - due to loan restrictions - became eligible to vote in Legislative
Council elections (Constitution Act, 69/1954).
In 1968 full adult franchise was granted for Legislative
Council elections (Constitution Act, 68/1968) and the general voting
age for all electors was lowered to 18 years in 1973.
Further reading: Vicki Pearce 'A Few Viragos on a Stump:
the womanhood suffrage campaign in Tasmania 1880-1920' in Tasmanian Historical
Research Association Vol. 32 No. 4 1985 pp.151-164.
FEMALE FIRSTS - TASMANIA
FIRST WOMAN IN FEDERAL PARLIAMENT
Dame Enid M. Lyons (UAP/Lib) became the first woman to sit in
Federal Parliament when she was elected to the Tasmanian seat of Darwin
(now Braddon) in the House of Representatives on 21 August 1943. She
became the first woman to become a Federal Cabinet Minister. The first
woman to enter the Senate - Dorothy Tangney, representing Western Australia
- was elected at the same election.
FIRST WOMAN IN LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL
Margaret E. McINTYRE was the first woman Member of Parliament in
Tasmania. She was elected as an Independent for the Legislative Council
seat of Cornwall in May 1948, by male voters and female nurses only, but
was killed in an air accident in September 1948.
FIRST WOMEN IN HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY
In February 1955 Amelia M. BEST (Wilmot) and Mabel F. MILLER
(Franklin) became the first women to be elected to the House of Assembly.
FIRST WOMAN PARTY SECRETARY
In July 1969 Kath J. VENN, ALP, became
Australia's first female Party secretary (until 1976 when she became a
Member of the Legislative Council).
FIRST WOMAN MINISTER
In 1980 Gillian H. JAMES, ALP, was elected
Tasmania's first female Minister; in June 1989 Fran Bladel and Judy Jackson
were made Ministers in the Field ALP Government (1989-92). Mrs James was
also Deputy Speaker during 1980.
FIRST WOMAN PARTY LEADER
Christine A. MILNE was elected leader of the Tasmanian Greens in
February 1993 (three of the five Members were female) and so became Tasmania's
first female Party leader. She was defeated at the August 1998 election
after which the only Greens Member was Peg Putt, who assumed leadership
of the Party.
FIRST WOMAN MINISTER IN A LIBERAL GOVERNMENT
Sue D. NAPIER became the first female Liberal Party Member to enter
Cabinet when made an Assistant Minister in February 1994; she became Deputy
Premier in March 1996 and the first woman to lead the Tasmanian Liberal
Party on 2 July 1999.
FIRST WOMAN TO SIT IN STATE AND FEDERAL PARLIAMENTS
When elected to the Legislative Council in May 1997 Silvia
J. SMITH became the first woman to represent Tasmania at both
Federal (ALP) and State (Ind ALP) levels (MHR Bass 1993-96; MLC Windermere
FIRST WOMEN TO BECOME PRESIDENT OF THE LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL
Hon. Sue SMITH became the first women to be elected as President of the Legislative Council on Tuesday 10 May 2008.
FIRST WOMEN TO BECOME PREMIER
Hon. Lara T GIDDINGS became the first women Premier of Tasmania on Monday 24 January 2011.
TIMELINE OF WOMEN IN THE TASMANIAN ELECTORAL
House of Assembly
|Women become eligible to vote
29 Feb 1904
29 Nov 1920
(eligible to vote)
29 Mar 1906
3 May 1921
|Women become eligible to stand
14 Feb 1922
14 Feb 1922
|First election (eligible to stand)
25 Mar 1922
2 May 1922
|First women elected
19 Feb 1955
8 May 1948
A.M. BEST (Liberal)
M.F. MILLER (Liberal)
M.E. McINTYRE (Ind.)
of Women Members of Tasmanian Parliament