Margaret Reid

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The Honourable
Margaret Reid
President of the Australian Senate
In office
20 August 1996 – 19 August 2002
Preceded by Michael Beahan
Succeeded by Paul Calvert
Senator for Australian Capital Territory
In office
5 May 1981 – 14 February 2003
Preceded by John Knight
Succeeded by Gary Humphries
Personal details
Born (1935-05-28) 28 May 1935 (age 79)
Adelaide, South Australia
Political party Liberal

Margaret Elizabeth Reid AO (born 28 May 1935) is a former Australian politician. She was the first woman to be President of the Australian Senate.[1]

Early years[edit]

Born Margaret McLachlan[2] near Adelaide, South Australia, Reid was educated at the University of Adelaide, obtaining a LLB. There she joined the Liberal Party, becoming the first female president of the Australian Liberal Students Federation. After graduating, Reid became a barrister, specialising in family law; and moved to Canberra in 1965.

Political career[edit]

On 5 May 1981, Margaret Reid was elected by a joint sitting of the Australian Parliament to fill a casual vacancy in the representation of the Australian Capital Territory in the Senate, following the sudden death of her close friend, Senator John Knight. This was the first of only two occasions on which a Senate casual vacancy was filled in this manner, as the law was later changed to provide for a replacement senator to be appointed by the relevant territory (ACT or NT) legislative assembly.[3]

Reid became Liberal Whip in the Senate in 1987 and held the office until 1995. In 1996, she was elected President of the Senate, retiring from the position in 2002 after six years. Reid resigned from the Senate on 14 February 2003, and was replaced by the former ACT Chief Minister, Gary Humphries.

Honours and awards[edit]

An active patron of over eighty community organisations in Canberra, in 2004 she was appointed an Officer (AO) in the Order of Australia for her service to the Australian Parliament and the community. She was inaugural President of the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

She married Tom Reid, a widower with four children, in 1966. She adopted his children, but they had no further children together.[4]

Reid is the patron of the Australian Women's History Forum with Mary Sexton.[5]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Senate Brief No 6". The President of the Senate. Commonwealth of Australia. October 2009. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Rules for Joint Sittings" (PDF). Commonwealth of Australia. Retrieved 2010-08-13. 
  4. ^ Emma Macdonald, "Rising above the genteel rumble of the pink palace", Canberra Sunday Times, 7 January 2001, Sunday Focus, p. 18
  5. ^ About Australian Women's History Forum, accessed 18 August 2011.
Political offices
Preceded by
Michael Beahan
President of the Australian Senate
Succeeded by
Paul Calvert
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
John Knight
Senator for the Australian Capital Territory
Served alongside: Susan Ryan, Bob McMullan, Kate Lundy
Succeeded by
Gary Humphries