Women in the Western Australian Legislative Assembly

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There have been 44 women in the Western Australian Legislative Assembly since its establishment in 1890. Women have had the right to vote since 1899 and the right to stand as candidates since 1920.

The first successful female candidate for the Legislative Assembly was Edith Cowan, who was elected as the member for West Perth in 1921 representing the Nationalist Party of Australia. This was the first time a woman had won election anywhere in Australia. Cowan was defeated in 1924 but in 1925 May Holman was elected to the seat of Forrest in a by-election, becoming the first successful Labor woman in Australia. Holman was joined by Florence Cardell-Oliver of the Nationalist Party in 1936, who would become the first female cabinet minister. Cardell-Oliver's retirement in 1956 led to a period of absence for women, until June Craig of the Liberal Party was elected in 1974, since which time women have been continuously represented in the Assembly.

Hilda Turnbull was the first National Party woman elected to the Assembly in 1989, and only two women – Elizabeth Constable (1991–2013) and Janet Woollard (2001–2013) – have been elected as independents. Adele Carles became the first Greens member of the Assembly in 2009, although she later quit the party. Only two Indigenous women have been elected to the Western Australia parliament, starting with Carol Martin in 2001.

List of women in the Western Australian Legislative Assembly[edit]

Names in bold indicate women who have been appointed as Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries during their time in Parliament. Names in italics indicate women who were first elected at a by-election. An asterisk (*) indicates that the member also served in the Legislative Council.

Name Party Electoral Division Period of service
Edith Cowan Nationalist West Perth 12 March 1921 – 22 March 1924
May Holman Labor Forrest 3 April 1925 – 18 March 1939
Florence Cardell-Oliver Nationalist/Liberal Subiaco 15 February 1936 – 7 April 1956
June Craig Liberal Wellington 30 March 1974 – 19 February 1983
Pam Beggs Labor Whitford 19 February 1983 – 6 February 1993
Pam Buchanan Labor/Independent Pilbara 19 February 1983 – 3 March 1992
Yvonne Henderson Labor Gosnells
Thornlie
19 February 1983 – 14 December 1996
Jackie Watkins Labor Joondalup
Wanneroo
6 February 1983 – 6 February 1993
Carmen Lawrence Labor Subiaco
Glendalough
8 February 1986 – 14 February 1994
Judyth Watson Labor Canning
Kenwick
8 February 1986 – 14 December 1996
Cheryl Edwardes Liberal Kingsley 4 February 1989 – 26 February 2005
Hilda Turnbull National Collie 4 February 1989 – 10 February 2001
Judy Edwards Labor Maylands 26 May 1990 – 6 September 2008
Liz Constable Independent Floreat
Churchlands
20 July 1991 – 9 March 2013
Kay Hallahan* Labor Armadale 6 February 1993 – 14 December 1996
June van de Klashorst Liberal Swan Hills 6 February 1993 – 10 February 2001
Diana Warnock Labor Perth 6 February 1993 – 10 February 2001
Michelle Roberts Labor Glendalough
Midland
19 March 1994 –
Rhonda Parker Liberal Helena
Ballajura
10 September 1994 – 10 February 2001
Megan Anwyl Labor Kalgoorlie 14 December 1996 – 10 February 2001
Katie Hodson-Thomas Liberal Carine 14 December 1996 – 6 September 2008
Monica Holmes Liberal Southern River 14 December 1996 – 10 February 2001
Alannah MacTiernan* Labor Armadale 14 December 1996 – 19 July 2010
Sheila McHale Labor Thornlie 14 December 1996 – 6 September 2008
Dianne Guise Labor Wanneroo 10 February 2001 – 6 September 2008
Carol Martin Labor Kimberley 10 February 2001 – 9 March 2013
Margaret Quirk Labor Girrahween 10 February 2001 –
Jaye Radisich Labor Swan Hills 10 February 2001 – 6 September 2008
Sue Walker Liberal/Independent Nedlands 10 February 2001 – 6 September 2008
Janet Woollard Independent Alfred Cove 10 February 2001 – 9 March 2013
Judy Hughes Labor Kingsley 26 February 2005 – 6 September 2008
Lisa Baker Labor Maylands 6 September 2008 –
Janine Freeman Labor Nollamara 6 September 2008 –
Liza Harvey Liberal Scarborough 6 September 2008 –
Andrea Mitchell Liberal Kingsley 6 September 2008 –
Rita Saffioti Labor West Swan 6 September 2008 –
Adele Carles Greens/Independent Fremantle 16 May 2009 – 9 March 2013
Mia Davies* National Central Wheatbelt 9 March 2013 –
Wendy Duncan* National Kalgoorlie 9 March 2013 –
Eleni Evangel Liberal Perth 9 March 2013 –
Josie Farrer Labor Kimberley 9 March 2013 –
Glenys Godfrey Liberal Belmont 9 March 2013 –
Simone McGurk Labor Fremantle 9 March 2013 –
Libby Mettam Liberal Vasse 18 October 2014 –

Timeline[edit]

Libby Mettam Simone McGurk Glenys Godfrey Josie Farrer Eleni Evangel Wendy Duncan Mia Davies Adele Carles Rita Saffioti Andrea Mitchell Liza Harvey Janine Freeman Lisa Baker (Australian politician) Judy Hughes Janet Woollard Sue Walker Jaye Radisich Margaret Quirk Carol Martin Dianne Guise Sheila McHale Alannah MacTiernan Monica Holmes Katie Hodson-Thomas Megan Anwyl Rhonda Parker Michelle Roberts Diana Warnock June van der Klashorst Kay Hallahan Liz Constable Judy Edwards Hilda Turnbull Cheryl Edwardes Judyth Watson Carmen Lawrence Jackie Watkins Yvonne Henderson Pam Buchanan Pam Beggs June Craig Florence Cardell-Oliver May Holman Edith Cowan

See also[edit]