Women in the South Australian Legislative Council
There have been 16 women in the South Australian Legislative Council since its establishment in 1840. Women have had the right to vote and stand as candidates since 1894.
In 1895, South Australian women became the first state in Australia, and some of the first in the world, to be given the right to vote and stand for election to Parliament. The following year at the 1896 election, the first women in Australia voted. Ironically, South Australia was the last state to elect a female representative, at the 1959 election, when Jessie Cooper and Joyce Steele were elected to the Parliament of South Australia for the Liberal and Country League (LCL).
The first successful female candidate for the Legislative Council was Cooper. In 1975 she was joined by Labor's first female MLC, Anne Levy, who would later become the first and only female President of the South Australian Legislative Council. Sandra Kanck was the first female Democrat in 1993, and Ann Bressington was the first female independent in 2006.
In the current Legislative Council, two of eight Liberal MLCs (25%) and one of seven Labor MLCs (14.3%) are female. One of two Greens MLCs (50%) are female, Dignity for Disability's sole MLC is female, while Family First has not elected a female MLC.
List of women in the South Australian Legislative Council
Names in bold indicate women who have been appointed as Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries during their time in Parliament. Names in italics indicate entry into Parliament through a by-election or by appointment and * symbolises members that have sat as members in both the Legislative Council and the Legislative Assembly.
|Name||Party||Period of service|
|Jessie Cooper||LCL/Liberal||7 March 1959 – 10 July 1979 (retired)|
|Anne Levy||Labor||12 July 1975 – 10 October 1997 (retired)|
|Barbara Wiese||Labor||15 September 1979 – 15 September 1995 (resigned)|
|Diana Laidlaw||Liberal||6 November 1982 – 6 June 2003 (resigned)|
|Carolyn Pickles||Labor||7 December 1985 – 8 February 2002 (retired)|
|Bernice Pfitzner||Liberal||23 October 1990 – 10 October 1997 (defeated)|
|Caroline Schaefer||Liberal||1 August 1993 – 20 March 2010 (retired)|
|Sandra Kanck||Democrats||11 December 1993 – 30 January 2009 (resigned)|
|Carmel Zollo||Labor||11 October 1997 – 15 March 2014 (retired)|
|Gail Gago||Labor||9 February 2002 –|
|Kate Reynolds||Democrats||17 February 2003 – 17 March 2006 (defeated)|
|Michelle Lensink||Liberal||26 June 2003 –|
|Ann Bressington||No Pokies||18 March 2006 – 15 March 2014 (retired)|
|Tammy Franks||Greens||20 March 2010 –|
|Jing Lee||Liberal||20 March 2010 –|
|Kelly Vincent||Dignity for Disability||20 March 2010 –|