Women in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly

Women In The New South Wales Legislative Assembly

Women in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly

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There have been 55 women in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly since its establishment in 1856. Women have had the right to vote in the assembly since 1902 and the right to stand as a candidate since 1918.

The first successful candidate for the Legislative Assembly was Millicent Preston-Stanley, who was elected as a Nationalist representative for the multi-member electorate of Eastern Suburbs in 1925, but only lasted one term before being defeated. Fourteen years later, Mary Quirk held the seat of Balmain for Labor after the death of her husband, becoming the first Labor woman in the Assembly. However, successful women candidates in the Legislative Assembly remained few and far between until the 1980s.

In the early 1980s, women began to break through into senior positions in the state; Janice Crosio became the first woman to serve as a minister in state parliament, serving in the Wran Labor ministry, and she was followed on the conservative side of politics by Rosemary Foot, who served as the deputy leader of the Liberal Party for a time. In 1996, Liberal Kerry Chikarovski became the first woman to lead a major party in New South Wales, although she was deposed in 2003. In 2009, Labor's Kristina Keneally became the first woman to serve as Premier of New South Wales. In 2011, Shelley Hancock was elected as the first female Speaker of the Legislative Assembly.

While there had been a number of women elected to the Legislative Council throughout the middle of the twentieth...
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