Shelley Hancock

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The Honourable
Shelley Hancock
Shelley Hancock Official Photo.jpg
31st Speaker of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly
Assumed office
3 May 2011
Premier Barry O'Farrell
Mike Baird
Gladys Berejiklian
Preceded by Richard Torbay
Member of the New South Wales Parliament
for South Coast
Assumed office
22 March 2003
Preceded by Wayne Smith
Personal details
Born (1951-11-14) 14 November 1951 (age 65)
Nationality Australian
Political party Liberal Party
Spouse(s) Ossie Hancock
Occupation Politician
Profession Teacher
Website Parliamentary webpage

Shelley Elizabeth Hancock MP (born 14 November 1951) is an Australian politician who has been Speaker of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly since the 2011 state election. Mrs Hancock has been a Liberal member of the Legislative Assembly seat of South Coast since 2003. Mrs Hancock is the first female speaker in New South Wales state history. Out of the nine current Speaker of Australian Parliaments, Mrs Hancock is the longest serving.

Early years and background[edit]

Mrs Hancock grew up in Chatswood and attended Chatswood and Artarmon Primary Schools and North Sydney Girls High School. She completed a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Sydney. She was a former joint owner of the H Ranch at Milton and was a School teacher at Ulladulla High School for 26 years. Mrs Hancock is married to Ossie and they have three children.[1]

Mrs Hancock served on Shoalhaven City Council for 17 years as a ward three alderman and councillor, serving on a number of Council committees. Hancock was also elected Deputy Mayor from September 2000 to September 2001.[2]

Political career[edit]

Mrs Hancock has represented South Coast for the Liberal Party of Australia since 2003.[3] She was the only Liberal candidate to win a seat from the governing Labor Party at the 2003 state election with 52.8 per cent of the two-party vote.

Prior to the 2007 election, local and metropolitan journalists received phone calls encouraging them to print false allegations that Mrs Hancock and her husband had been involved in the making of pornographic films.[4] The source of the phone contact was revealed to be a staff member of the Labor Party candidate Michelle Miran, an employee of the New South Wales Department of State and Regional Development.[5] The same reports suggested that Labor had unsuccessfully tried to publish the same allegations at the 1991, 1995 and 2003 elections as well. Mrs Hancock went on to defeat Michelle Miran achieving a 6.2 point two-party-preferred swing in her favour.

At the 2011 general election, Hancock was re-elected to the South Coast with a swing of 11.2 points and won the seat with 70.4 per cent of the two-party vote.[6] Her main opponent was Glenn Sims, representing Labor.

Hancock contested the 2015 general election and was re-elected with a swing against her of 10.5 points. Despite the swing, Hancock went on to win the seat with 59.6 per cent of the two-party vote.[7]

Speaker of the NSW Legislative Assembly[edit]

Subsequent to the 2011 state election, on 3 May, Mrs Hancock was elected unanimously as Speaker of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly, the first female Speaker of New South Wales Parliament.[3][8][9] Speaker Hancock was re-elected unanimously to the role on 5 May, following the 2015 general election.[10]

As Speaker, Mrs Hancock has been responsible for a number of infrastructure and security improvements to the New South Wales Parliamentary Precinct. Most notably, her tenure has overseen historic restorations to elements of the old Rum Hospital Building including the Wentworth Room, which was used as the Legislative Council chamber from 1829 to 1843, as well as the former parliamentary library, the Jubilee Room, built in 1906. Further to the historic restorations, Mrs Hancock has overseen improvements to the modern office buildings housing member and parliamentary staff, as well overseeing upgrades to disability access and facilities.

Mrs Hancock has presided over some controversial incidents in the Legislative Assembly Chamber. In particular, Mrs Hancock was forced to call upon the Sergeant-at-arms to remove a senior Labor Party shadow minister who was accused of drunken misconduct in the Chamber. The member later apologised to Mrs Hancock.[11]

Women's Advocacy[edit]

During her inaugural speech to the New South Wales Legislative Assembly on 28 May 2003, Mrs Hancock asserted “motherhood convinced me that mine is the privileged gender.”[12]

As Speaker, Mrs Hancock has sought to address a number of issues on the parliamentary precinct where there was disparity in what was available to women, and what was available to men. Most remarkably, Mrs Hancock organised a ‘loo coup’ where, along with a number of other female MPs and Ministers, she arranged for the substandard female bathrooms on a lower level of the parliament building to be swapped with the superior male bathroom facilities. This was part of a larger push to make NSW Parliament a fit place for female politicians.[13][14]

In March 2017, Mrs Hancock, launched the ‘NSW Parliament: A Fit Place for Women’ exhibition which showcased the expanding role of women in NSW politics throughout its history. The exhibition was particularly well timed with the first female Liberal Premier of New South Wales, Gladys Berejiklian, coming to power in January of the same year.[15][16]


  1. ^ "Hancock, Shelley (1951 – )". Australian Women. Retrieved 2007-02-28. 
  2. ^ "Former Councillor Shelley Hancock". History with Council. Shoalhaven City Council. 1999. Retrieved 3 May 2011. 
  3. ^ a b "Mrs Shelley Elizabeth Hancock, BA, DipEd MP". Members of Parliament. Parliament of New South Wales. Retrieved 12 February 2010. 
  4. ^ Benson, Simon; Sikora, Kate (23 March 2007). "Labor porn film smear". The Daily Telegraph. News Limited. Retrieved 3 May 2011. 
  5. ^ "The Poll Bludger blog – South Coast 2007". Private Media Pty Limited. 2007. Retrieved 3 May 2011. 
  6. ^ Green, Antony (5 April 2011). "South Coast". NSW Votes 2011. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 3 May 2011. 
  7. ^ "Electoral results for the district of South Coast". Wikipedia. 2016-12-22. 
  8. ^ Humphries, David (4 May 2011). "Ritual abounds but little hubris – and even WC is missing". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 4 May 2011. 
  9. ^ "Female speaker makes NSW history". 702 ABC Sydney. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 30 March 2011. Retrieved 27 April 2011. 
  10. ^ HANSCOMBE, JOHN (2015-04-01). "Shelley Hancock to remain Speaker, Ward becomes parliamentary secretary". South Coast Register. Retrieved 2017-05-01. 
  11. ^ "Was ejected MP drunk?". Retrieved 2017-05-01. 
  12. ^ Hancock, Shelley (2003). Shelley Hancock Inaugural Speech. New South Wales Parliament Hansard. 
  13. ^ Partridge, Emma (2015-10-28). "Loo coup: Women protest about lack of toilets at NSW Parliament". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2017-05-01. 
  14. ^ Needham, Kirsty (2016-02-14). "Female MPs stage successful loo coup as NSW Parliament returns". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2017-05-01. 
  15. ^ "NSW Parliamentary trailblazers: A fit place for women? | Australian Women's History Network". Australian Women's History Network. 2017-02-09. Retrieved 2017-05-01. 
  16. ^ "A Fit Place for Women - NSW Parliament". Retrieved 2017-05-01. 
New South Wales Legislative Assembly
Preceded by
Wayne Smith
Member for South Coast
Preceded by
Richard Torbay
Speaker of the
New South Wales Legislative Assembly

2011 – present