Women in the Tasmanian Legislative Council

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There have been 17 women in the Tasmanian Legislative Council since its establishment in 1825. Women have had the right to vote since 1903 and the right to stand as candidates since 1921.

The first successful female candidate for the Legislative Council was Margaret McIntyre, who was elected as the member for Cornwall in 1948. Like most MLCs, McIntyre was an independent. She died later in 1948 in an air accident, and the next woman elected to the Council was Labor's Lucy Grounds in 1951. Another Labor woman, Phyllis Benjamin, joined Grounds in 1952; Grounds retired in 1958 and Benjamin in 1976, in which year Kath Venn was elected to the Council. After Venn's departure in 1982 there were no women in the Council until 1992, when Jean Moore was elected. She departed in 1994, and since the election of Silvia Smith and Sue Smith to the Council in 1997 women have been represented continuously. In 2009, Vanessa Goodwin became the first Liberal woman elected to the Council.

List of women in the Tasmanian Legislative Council[edit]

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.

Name Party Electoral Division Period of service
Margaret McIntyre Independent Cornwall 8 May 1948 – 2 September 1948 (died)
Lucy Grounds Labor Launceston 29 September 1951 – 10 May 1958 (defeated)
Phyllis Benjamin Labor Hobart 10 May 1952 – 22 May 1976 (retired)
Kath Venn Labor Hobart 22 May 1976 – 27 May 1982 (defeated)
Jean Moore Independent Hobart 11 April 1992 – 28 May 1994 (defeated)
Silvia Smith Independent Westmorland
31 May 1997 – 3 May 2003 (defeated)
Sue Smith Independent Leven
31 May 1997 – 4 May 2013 (retired)
Lin Thorp Labor Rumney 28 August 1999 – 7 May 2011 (defeated)
Cathy Edwards Independent Pembroke 28 August 1999 – 5 May 2001 (defeated)
Allison Ritchie Labor Pembroke 5 May 2001 – 20 June 2009 (resigned)
Norma Jamieson Independent Mersey 3 May 2003 – 2 May 2009 (retired)
Tania Rattray Independent Apsley 1 May 2004 –
Ruth Forrest Independent Murchison 7 May 2005 –
Vanessa Goodwin Liberal Pembroke 12 August 2009 –
Adriana Taylor Independent Elwick 1 May 2010 – 7 May 2016 (defeated)
Rosemary Armitage Independent Launceston 7 May 2011 –
Leonie Hiscutt Liberal Montgomery 4 May 2013 –


Leonie Hiscutt Rosemary Armitage Adriana Taylor Vanessa Goodwin Ruth Forrest Tania Rattray Norma Jamieson Allison Ritchie Cathy Edwards Lin Thorp Sue Smith (politician) Silvia Smith Jean Moore Kath Venn Phyllis Benjamin Lucy Grounds Margaret McIntyre

See also[edit]