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Women Senators Since 1901

The table on this page displays the complete list of 110 female senators since 1901.

No women were elected to the Senate between 1901 and 1943. Dorothy Tangney was the first, elected in August 1943.

Until 1980, just thirteen women had sat in the Senate. The increase in female participation accelerated in the 1980s, with seventeen women taking up Senate seats in that decade.

Since 1990, eighty women have entered the Senate. They constitute 72.72% of all women senators since 1901.

As of September 11, 2019, the thirty-eight women senators currently serving constitute 34.54% of the total number of women who have served in the Senate since Federation. They also constitute 50.00% of the current Senate’s membership of 76, the first time parity between male and female members has been achieved. There are sixteen from the ALP, twelve from the Liberal Party, five from the Greens, three from The Nationals, one from One Nation, and one from the Jacqui Lambie Network.

2019 FEDERAL ELECTION

Eight new women senators took office on May 18, 2019 or July 1, 2019: ALP 3, Liberal/LNP 3, Nationals 2.

The new senators are:
– ALP: Jess Walsh (Vic), Nita Green (Qld) and Marielle Smith (SA)
– LIB/LNP: Hollie Hughes (NSW), Susan McDonald (Qld) and Claire Chandler (Tas)
– NATIONALS: Perin Davey (NSW), Sam McMahon (NT)

Two female former senators returned: Jacqui Lambie (Tas-JLN) and Katy Gallagher (ACT-ALP).

Three women left the Senate on June 30. Claire Moore (Qld-ALP) retired at the election. Lisa Singh (Tas-ALP), and Lucy Gichuhi (SA-Lib) were defeated.

There are now 37 women senators – ALP 16, Lib/LNP 11, Nationals 3, Greens 5, Lambie 1, One Nation 1. They comprise 48.68% of the Senate’s 76 members.

The total number of women senators since 1901 has risen to 109.

UPDATE – September 11, 2019: Sarah Henderson, who was defeated in the House of Representatives division of Corangamite at the 2019 election, was appointed to a casual vacancy to replace Mitch Fifield, who resigned to become Australian ambassador to the United Nations. This brought the total number of women senators since 1901 to 110.

CHANGES IN THE 45th PARLIAMENT 2016-2019

Seven women elected at the 2016 federal election have left the Senate. Five (Waters, Nash, Lambie, Kakoschke-Moore and Gallagher) were replaced by men, following special recounts in their respective states. One (Rhiannon) was replaced by a woman via a casual vacancy. One (Collins) was replaced by a man via a casual vacancy.

Additionally, six women have replaced male senators, one (Gichuhi) via a special recount, and five via casual vacancies (Kitching, Keneally, Stoker, Waters and Askew). Larissa Waters, who resigned in 2017 due to Section 44 issues, returned to the Senate in 2018, filling a casual vacancy following the resignation of Andrew Bartlett. She effectively returned to her old seat.

  • Kimberley Kitching (Vic-ALP), was appointed on October 25, 2016 to fill a casual vacancy caused by the retirement of Stephen Conroy on September 30, 2016.
  • Lucy Gichuhi (SA-Ind/Lib), was elected in a special recount on April 19, 2017, following the resignation of Bob Day on November 1, 2016. Day was subsequently disqualified by the High Court on April 5, 2017, due to an indirect pecuniary interest with the Commonwealth. Gichuhi, whilst appointed due to her position on the Family First Senate ticket, sat first as an independent before joining the Liberal Party.
  • Larissa Waters (Qld-Greens) resigned her seat on July 18, 2017, due to her Canadian dual citizenship that put her in breach of Section 44 of the Constitution. On November 10, 2017, following a High Court ruling, a countback of Senate votes resulted in the election of Andrew Bartlett, a former Democrats senator.
  • Fiona Nash (NSW-Nationals), was declared ineligible to nominate by the High Court on October 27, 2017, due to her dual citizenship. A special recount resulted in the election of the Liberal Party’s Jim Molan on December 22, 2017.
  • Jacqui Lambie (Tas-JLN), resigned on November 14, 2017, due to dual citizenship. A special recount resulted in the election of Steve Martin on February 9, 2018. Martin joined The Nationals after his appointment.
  • Skye Kakoschke-Moore (SA-NXT), resigned on November 22, 2017, due to dual citizenship. A special recount resulted in the election of Tim Storer, who had left the Xenophon group and sat as an independent.
  • Kristina Keneally, a former ALP member of the NSW Parliament (2003-2012) and Premier of NSW (2009-2011), was approved by a joint sitting of the NSW Parliament on February 14, 2018 to fill the casual vacancy created by the resignation of Sam Dastyari.
  • Listen to the NSW Parliament’s Joint Sitting to Nominate Keneally (2m)
  • Amanda Stoker (Qld-LNP) was preselected on March 10, 2018 to fill a casual vacancy caused by the resignation of George Brandis on February 7, 2018. In accordance with Section 15 of the Constitution, she was formally chosen by the Queensland Parliament on March 21, 2018.
  • On May 9, 2018, the High Court declared that Katy Gallagher, an ACT senator and former Chief Minister of the ACT, was ineligible to contest the 2016 election, by reason of her dual citizenship. The court ordered a special recount to replace Gallagher. This resulted in the election of David Smith, the second candidate on the ALP ticket, on May 23, 2016.
  • On August 14, 2018, the NSW Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon resigned her seat. On August 15, a joint sitting of the NSW Parliament chose Mehreen Faruqi as her replacement. Faruqi is the 100th woman to be elected to the Senate.
  • On August 27, 2018, the Queensland Greens Senator Andrew Bartlett resigned his seat. On September 6, 2018, the Queensland parliament appointed Larissa Waters to fill the casual vacancy. She was sworn in on September 10.
  • On February 15, 2019, the Victorian Labor Senator Jacinta Collins resigned her seat. She had previously announced she would retire at the 2019 election. She was replaced by Rafael “Raff” Ciccone, who was appointed by the Victorian parliament on March 6, 2019. With Collins gone, the number of ALP women dropped from 15 to 14.
  • On January 21, 2019, the Tasmanian Liberal Senator David Bushby resigned and was appointed consul-general in Chicago. His sister, Wendy Askew, was preselected to fill his casual vacancy. Her appointment took the number of Liberal women to nine.

The following table shows the full list of current women senators. Their state of origin and first date of election is shown next to their names.

Current Women Senators – as of September 11, 2019 (Total: 38)
A.L.P. (16) Liberal Party (12) Others (10)
1. Penny Wong (SA, 2002)
2. Helen Polley (Tas, 2005)
3. Carol Brown (Tas, 2005)
4. Catryna Bilyk (Tas, 2008)
5. Louise Pratt (WA, 2008-2014, 2016)
6. Anne Urquhart (Tas, 2011)
7. Sue Lines (WA, 2013)
8. Deborah O’Neill (NSW, 2013)
9. Jenny McAllister (NSW, 2015)
10. Malarndirri McCarthy (NT, 2016)
11. Kimberley Kitching (Vic, 2016)
12. Kristina Keneally (NSW, 2018)
13. Katy Gallagher (ACT, 2015-2018, 2019)
14. Nita Green (Qld, 2019)
15. Marielle Smith (SA, 2019)
16. Jess Walsh (Vic, 2019)
1. Marise Payne (NSW, 1997)
2. Concetta Fierravanti-Wells (NSW, 2005)
3. Michaelia Cash (WA, 2008)
4. Anne Ruston (SA, 2012)
5. Linda Reynolds (WA, 2014)
6. Jane Hume (Vic, 2016)
7. Amanda Stoker (Qld, 2018)
8. Wendy Askew (Tas, 2019)
9. Claire Chandler (Tas, 2019)
10. Hollie Hughes (NSW, 2019)
11. Susan McDonald (Qld, 2019)
12. Sarah Henderson (Vic, 2019)
AUSTRALIAN GREENS
1. Rachel Siewert (WA, 2005)
2. Sarah Hanson-Young (SA, 2008)
3. Janet Rice (Vic, 2014)
4. Mehreen Faruqi (NSW, 2018)
5. Larissa Waters (Qld, 2011-2017, 2018)

THE NATIONALS
6. Bridget McKenzie (Vic, 2011)
7. Perin Davey (NSW, 2019)
8. Sam McMahon (NT, 2019)

ONE NATION
9. Pauline Hanson (Qld, 2016)

JACQUI LAMBIE NETWORK
10. Jacqui Lambie (Tas, 2014-2017, 2019)

 

LONGEST-SERVING WOMEN SENATORS

Interestingly, the first two female senators are also the two longest-serving women. Three of the first four women are amongst the longest-serving. The record is held by Dame Dorothy Tangney, the ALP senator from Western Australia, who served for 24 years, 10 months and 9 days between 1943 and 1968.

Of contemporary senators, Foreign Minister Marise Payne and Amanda Vanstone have the longest service.

  1. Dame Dorothy Tangney (ALP-WA) – 1943-1968 – 24 years, 10 months, 9 days
  2. Dame Annabelle Rankin (Lib-Qld) – 1947-1971 – 23 years, 10 months, 23 days
  3. Marise Payne (Lib-NSW) – 1997-current – 22 years, 7 months, 28 days
  4. Amanda Vanstone (Lib-SA) – 1984-2007 – 22 years, 4 months, 25 days
  5. Dame Ivy Wedgwood (Lib-Vic) – 1950-1971 – 21 years, 4 months, 8 days

DEATHS

The most recent deaths of women senators have been:

  • April 01, 2018: Jocelyn Newman (Lib-Tas), 80
  • December 20, 2017: Lady Florence Bjelke-Petersen (Nat-Qld), 97.
  • November 20, 2017: Jean Hearn (ALP-Tas), 96.
  • August 09, 2017: Patricia Giles (ALP-WA), 88.
  • June 18, 2017: Shirley Walters (Lib-Tas), 91.

As of July 2019, eighteen former women senators have died. This is 16.51% of the total number.

The table below lists each woman by the date she first took up her seat. Members elected at double dissolutions who had their terms backdated are listed according to their date of election. The table also shows details of senators who also served in the House of Representatives or other state or territory parliaments.

Women Members of the Senate Since 1901
No. Name State Party Term Began Term Ended Birth Death Age
1.
Tangney, Dame Dorothy
WA
ALP
21.08.1943
30.06.1968
13.03.1911
01.06.1985
74
2.
Rankin, Dame Annabelle
Qld
Lib
01.07.1947
24.05.1971
28.07.1908
30.08.1986
78
3.
Robertson, Agnes
WA
Lib
Country
22.02.1950
01.07.1956
30.06.1956
30.06.1962
31.07.1882
29.01.1968
85
4.
Wedgwood, Dame Ivy
Vic
Lib
22.02.1950
30.06.1971
18.10.1896
24.07.1975
78
5.
Buttfield, Dame Nancy
SA
Lib
11.10.1955
09.12.1961
01.07.1968
08.12.1961
30.06.1965
11.04.1974
12.11.1912
04.09.2005
92
6.
Breen, Marie
Vic
Lib
01.07.1962
30.06.1968
03.11.1902
17.06.1993
90
7.
Guilfoyle, Dame Margaret
Vic
Lib
01.07.1971
05.06.1987
15.05.1926
93
8.
Coleman, Ruth
WA
ALP
18.05.1974
05.06.1987
27.09.1931
27.03.2008
76
9.
Martin/Sullivan, Kathryn
Qld
Moncrieff (Qld)
Lib
18.05.1974
01.12.1984
05.11.1984
08.12.2001
08.03.1942
77
10.
Melzer, Jean
Vic
ALP
18.05.1974
30.06.1981
07.02.1926
18.06.2013
91
11.
Walters, (Mary) Shirley
Tas
Lib
13.12.1975
30.06.1993
31.08.1925
18.06.2017
91
12.
Ryan, Susan
ACT
ALP
13.12.1975
29.01.1988
10.10.1942
77
13.
Haines, Janine
SA
AD
14.12.1977
01.07.1981
30.06.1978
01.03.1990
08.05.1945
20.11.2004
59
14.
Hearn, Jean
Tas
ALP
15.10.1980
30.06.1985
30.03.1921
20.11.2017
96
15.
Bjelke-Petersen, Lady Florence
Qld
NCP/Nat
12.03.1981
30.06.1993
11.08.1920
20.12.2017
97
16.
Reid, Margaret
ACT
Lib
05.05.1981
14.02.2003
28.05.1935
84
17.
Giles, Patricia
WA
ALP
01.07.1981
30.06.1993
16.11.1928
09.08.2017
88
18.
Zakharov, Olive
Vic
ALP
05.03.1983
06.03.1995
19.03.1929
06.03.1995
65
19.
Crowley, Rosemary
SA
ALP
05.03.1983
30.06.2002
30.07.1938
81
20.
Reynolds, Margaret
Qld
ALP
05.03.1983
30.06.1999
19.07.1941
78
21.
Knowles, Susan
WA
Lib
01.12.1984
30.06.2005
10.04.1951
68
22.
Vanstone, Amanda
SA
Lib
01.12.1984
26.04.2007
07.12.1952
67
23.
Vallentine, Josephine
WA
NDP/Ind
Greens WA
01.07.1985
31.01.1992
30.05.1946
73
24.
Newman, Jocelyn
Tas
Lib
13.03.1986
01.02.2002
07.07.1937
01.04.2018
80
25.
Powell, Janet
Vic
AD/Ind
26.08.1986
30.06.1993
29.09.1942
30.03.2013
71
26.
West, Suzanne
NSW
ALP
11.02.1987
01.07.1990
05.06.1987
30.06.2002
21.09.1947
72
27.
Bishop, Bronwyn
NSW
Mackellar (NSW)
Lib
11.07.1987
26.03.1994
24.02.1994
09.05.2016
19.10.1942
77
28.
Jenkins, Jean
WA
AD
11.07.1987
30.06.1990
16.03.1938
81
29.
Patterson, Kay
Vic
Lib
11.07.1987
30.06.2008
21.11.1944
75
30.
Dunn, Irina
NSW
NDP/Ind
21.07.1988
30.06.1990
17.03.1948
71
31.
Lees, Meg
SA
AD
04.04.1990
30.06.2005
19.10.1948
71
32.
Bourne, Victoria
NSW
AD
01.07.1990
30.06.2002
22.10.1954
65
33.
Kernot, Cheryl
Qld
Dickson (Qld)
AD
ALP
01.07.1990
03.10.1998
15.10.1997
10.11.2001
05.12.1948
71
34.
Sowada, Karin
NSW
AD
29.08.1991
30.06.1993
01.11.1961
58
35.
Chamarette, Christabel
WA
Greens WA
12.03.1992
30.06.1996
01.05.1948
71
36.
Margetts, Dee
WA
Greens WA
01.07.1993
30.06.1999
05.03.1955
64
37.
Troeth, Judith
Vic
Lib
01.07.1993
30.06.2011
03.08.1940
79
38.
Denman, Kay
Tas
ALP
24.08.1993
30.06.2005
22.07.1937
82
39.
Neal, Belinda
NSW
Robertson (NSW)
ALP
08.03.1994
24.11.2007
03.09.1998
19.07.2010
10.01.1963
56
40.
Collins, Jacinta
Vic
ALP
03.05.1995
08.05.2008
30.06.2005
15.02.2019
04.09.1962
57
41.
Stott Despoja, Natasha
SA
AD
29.11.1995
30.06.1998
09.09.1969
50
42.
Lundy, Kate
ACT
ALP
02.03.1996
24.03.2015
15.12.1967
51
43.
Mackay, Susan
Tas
ALP
08.03.1996
29.07.2005
14.04.1960
59
44.
Ferris, Jeannie
SA
Lib
01.07.1996
24.07.1996
12.07.1996
02.04.2007
14.03.1941
02.04.2007
66
45.
Gibbs, Brenda
Qld
ALP
01.07.1996
30.06.2002
03.09.1947
72
46.
Allison, Lyn
Vic
AD
01.07.1996
30.06.2008
21.10.1946
73
47.
Coonan, Helen
NSW
AD
01.07.1996
22.08.2011
29.10.1947
72
48.
Payne, Marise
NSW
Lib
09.04.1997
29.07.1964
55
49.
Synon, Karen
Vic
Lib
13.05.1997
30.06.1999
15.09.1959
60
50.
Crossin, Trish
NT
ALP
01.07.1998
06.09.2013
21.03.1956
63
51.
McLucas, Jan
Qld
ALP
01.07.1999
09.05.2016
27.03.1958
61
52.
Moore, Claire
Qld
ALP
01.07.2002
30.06.2019
19.02.1956
63
53.
Stephens, Ursula
NSW
ALP
01.07.2002
30.06.2014
07.07.1954
65
54.
Wong, Penny
SA
ALP
01.07.2002
05.11.1968
51
55.
Kirk, Linda
SA
ALP
01.07.2002
30.06.2008
24.05.1967
52
56.
Webber, Ruth
WA
ALP
01.07.2002
30.06.2008
24.03.1965
54
57.
Nettle, Kerry
NSW
Greens
01.07.2002
30.06.2008
24.12.1973
45
58.
Fierravanti-Wells, Concetta
NSW
Liberal
05.05.2005
20.05.1960
59
59.
Adams, Judith
WA
Liberal
01.07.2005
31.03.2012
11.04.1943
31.03.2012
68
60.
Wortley, Dana
SA
MHA Torrens (SA)
ALP
01.07.2005
15.03.2014
30.06.2011
xx.xx.1959
60
61.
Milne, Christine
MHA Lyons (Tas)
Tas
Greens
13.05.1989
01.07.2005
29.08.1998
10.08.2015
14.05.1953
66
62.
Nash, Fiona
NSW
Nationals
01.07.2005
27.10.2017
06.05.1965
54
63.
Polley, Helen
Tas
ALP
01.07.2005
09.02.1957
62
64.
Siewert, Rachel
WA
Greens
01.07.2005
04.11.1961
58
65.
Hurley, Annette
MHA Napier (SA)
SA
ALP
11.12.1993
01.07.2005
09.02.2002
30.06.2011
23.03.1955
64
66.
McEwen, Anne
SA
ALP
01.07.2005
02.07.2016
03.08.1954
65
67.
Brown, Carol
Tas
ALP
25.08.2005
19.07.1963
56
68.
Boyce, Sue
Qld
Liberal
19.04.2007
30.06.2014
15.03.1951
68
69.
Fisher, Mary Jo
SA
Liberal
12.06.2007
14.08.2012
25.12.1962
56
70.
Hanson-Young, Sarah
SA
Greens
01.07.2008
23.12.1981
37
71.
Pratt, Louise
MLC (WA)
WA
WA
ALP
22.05.2001
01.07.2008
02.07.2016
29.10.2007
30.06.2014
18.04.1972
47
72.
Cash, Michaelia
WA
Liberal
01.07.2008
19.07.1970
49
73.
Kroger, Helen
Vic
Liberal
01.07.2008
30.06.2014
11.03.1959
60
74.
Bilyk, Catryna
Tas
ALP
01.07.2008
07.02.1959
60
75.
McKenzie, Bridget
Vic
Nationals
01.07.2011
27.12.1969
49
76.
Rhiannon, Lee
MLC (NSW)
NSW
Greens
27.03.1999
01.07.2011
19.07.2010
14.08.2018
30.05.1951
68
77.
Singh, Lisa
MHA Denison (Tas)
Tas
ALP
18.03.2006
01.07.2011
13.04.2010
30.06.2019
20.02.1972
47
78.
Wright, Penny
SA
Greens
01.07.2011
09.09.2015
19.01.1961
58
79.
Waters, Larissa
Qld
Greens
01.07.2011
06.09.2018
18.07.2017
08.02.1977
42
80.
Urquhart, Anne
Tas
ALP
01.07.2011
18.10.1957
62
81.
Thorp, Lin
Tas
ALP
20.06.2012
30.06.2014
04.11.1953
66
82.
Ruston, Anne
SA
Liberal
05.09.2012
10.06.1963
56
83.
Lines, Sue
WA
ALP
15.05.2013
15.12.1953
65
84.
Peris, Nova
NT
ALP
07.09.2013
09.05.2016
25.02.1971
48
85.
O’Neill, Deborah
Robertson (NSW)
NSW
ALP
21.08.2010
13.11.2013
07.09.2013
04.06.1961
58
86.
Lambie, Jacqui
Tas
PUP/Ind
JLN
01.07.2014
01.07.2019
14.11.2017
26.02.1971
48
87.
Reynolds, Linda
WA
Liberal
01.07.2014
16.05.1965
54
88.
Rice, Janet
Vic
Greens
01.07.2014
18.11.1960
59
89.
Gallagher, Katy
MLA Molonglo (ACT)
ACT
ACT
ALP
20.10.2001
25.03.2015
18.05.2019
23.12.2014
09.05.2018
18.03.1970
49
90.
McAllister, Jenny
NSW
ALP
06.05.2015
21.02.1973
46
91.
Lindgren, Joanna
Qld
LNP
21.05.2015
02.07.2016
05.11.1969
50
92.
Hanson, Pauline
Oxley (Qld)
Qld
Independent
One Nation
02.03.1996
02.07.2016
03.10.1998
27.05.1954
65
93.
Hume, Jane
Vic
Liberal
02.07.2016
30.04.1971
48
94.
Kakoschke-Moore, Skye
SA
NXT
02.07.2016
22.11.2017
19.12.1985
33
95.
McCarthy, Malarndirri
NT
ALP
02.07.2016
19.04.1970
49
96.
Kitching, Kimberley
Vic
ALP
25.10.2016
16.02.1970
49
97.
Gichuhi, Lucy
SA
Ind / Liberal
19.04.2017
30.06.2019
23.09.1962
57
98.
Keneally, Kristina
MLA Heffron (NSW)
NSW
ALP
22.03.2003
14.02.2018
29.06.2012
19.12.1968
50
99.
Stoker, Amanda
Qld
LNP
21.03.2018
30.10.1982
37
100.
Faruqi, Dr Mehreen
MLC (NSW)
NSW
Greens
19.06.2013
15.08.2018
14.08.2018
08.07.1963
56
101.
Askew, Wendy
Tas
Liberal
06.03.2019
16.03.1963
56
102.
Chandler, Claire
Tas
Liberal
01.07.2019
01.06.1990
29
103.
Davey, Perin
NSW
Nationals
01.07.2019
05.02.1972
47
104.
Green, Nita
Qld
ALP
01.07.2019
105.
Hughes, Hollie
NSW
Liberal
01.07.2019
106.
McDonald, Susan
Qld
LNP/Nationals
01.07.2019
107.
McMahon, Samantha
NT
CLP/Nationals
01.07.2019
11.12.1967
51
108.
Smith, Marielle
SA
ALP
01.07.2019
30.12.1986
32
109.
Walsh, Jess
Vic
ALP
01.07.2019
16.05.1971
48
110.
Henderson, Sarah
Corangamite (Vic)
Vic
Liberal
07.09.2013
11.09.2019
18.05.2019
04.04.1964
55

 

 

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