Kay Patterson

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Dr Kay Patterson

Senator Kay Patterson.jpg
Patterson in 1997
Minister for Family and Community Services
In office
7 October 2003 – 27 January 2006
Prime MinisterJohn Howard
Preceded byAmanda Vanstone
Succeeded byMal Brough
Minister for Health & Ageing
In office
26 November 2001 – 7 October 2003
Prime MinisterJohn Howard
Preceded byMichael Wooldridge
Succeeded byTony Abbott
Senator for Victoria
In office
11 July 1987 – 30 June 2008
Personal details
Kay Christine Lesley Patterson

(1944-11-21) 21 November 1944 (age 74)
Political partyLiberal Party of Australia
Alma materUniversity of Sydney; Monash University
OccupationFormer politician; academic; Age Discrimination Commissioner AHRC

Kay Christine Lesley Patterson AO (born 21 November 1944) is a former Australian politician. She was a Liberal member of the Australian Senate from 1987 to 2008, representing the state of Victoria.

Background and education[edit]

Patterson was born in Sydney and was educated at the University of Sydney, where she graduated with honours with a Bachelor of Arts; and at Monash University where she graduated with a Doctor of Philosophy and Diploma of Education. She studied psychology and education, going on to become a university lecturer, working in several universities in both Australia and in the United States. She is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (2009).

Political career[edit]

In 1985, Patterson was elected as her local party branch delegate to the Liberal Party's State Council. In 1987, when she was pre-selected for a Liberal Senate seat, becoming a senator for the state of Victoria at the 1987 election.

Patterson was promoted to the shadow ministry in 1990 as a parliamentary secretary. Over the next few years, she occupied a number of portfolios in relation to health, aged care and social policy. She was promoted again (Shadow Minister for Senior Citizens and Aged Care and Shadow Minister Assisting the Leader on Women’s Affairs and the Arts) under the leadership of John Hewson, but was demoted to a shadow parliamentary secretary position under Alexander Downer.

The Liberal Party was returned to power at the 1996 election under John Howard. In 1998 Patterson was appointed as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs In 2000 she was given the additional responsibility of Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Foreign Affairs. The following year, Patterson led the Australian delegation to the World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa.

Following the retirement of Michael Wooldridge at the 2001 election, Patterson was appointed as the Minister for Health and Ageing. She was well received by the Australian Medical Association, who had had a strained relationship with her predecessor. In 2003, in a major reshuffle, she was re-appointed to Cabinet as Minister for Family and Community Services and Minister assisting the Prime Minister for Women's Issues. On 22 January 2006, Patterson announced her resignation from the ministry, and her commission ceased on 27 January. She also announced that she would retire, and left parliament at the expiration of her term in June 2008.

Community involvement[edit]

Patterson was a member of Monash University Council (1978–1998), she was appointed a vice chancellor's professorial fellow at the university (2008-2015) .[1] and a professorial fellow in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (2016+), in this role she is the vice chairman of the advisory board to the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute, and member of the Monash Centre for Human Anatomy Education Advisory Board. She was a member of the Monash Ancora Imparo Leadership Committee 2008-2013. Patterson was inducted into Monash University Golden Key Society as an honorary member in 2009.

Patterson is a member of Girl Guides movement, which she joined when she was 10. She was a member of the Victorian State Council (1974–1991, 1993–1999) and state executive 1974–1995). She was made a Life Member of Girls Guides Victoria in 2002.

She became a director and member of the board of Interplast Australia and New Zealand in 2006 (vice president 2009), retiring when her term ended in 2015 and is a Company Member. She is a director of the Brockhoff Foundation (2008+). She is a commissioner on the National Mental Health Commission (2014-2016) and a member of the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation (2014-2016). She was appointed the national Age Discrimination Commissioner in the Australian Human Rights Commission on 29 July 2016.

She has also been involved in Capacity Building Workshops for female candidates for election in Laos (UN Workshop - 2006), Australian National University Centre for Democratic Institutions capacity building programs - Solomon Islands (2008), Canberra (2009), Canberra (2013). She chaired a Ministerial Advisory Committee on Homelessness (Vic) (2012-2014)


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 22 December 2008. Retrieved 1 October 2008.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Michael Wooldridge
Minister for Health and Ageing
Succeeded by
Tony Abbott
Preceded by
Amanda Vanstone
Minister for Family and Community Services
Succeeded by
Mal Brough
Preceded by
Amanda Vanstone
Minister assisting the Prime
Minister for the Status of Women/
Minister Assisting the Prime
Minister for Women's Issues

Succeeded by
Julie Bishop