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A Woman’s Place … is in the House

Anne Aly MP, Margaret Reid AO, Rosemary Follett AO, Susan Ryan AO and moderated by Emma Alberici

Saturday 25 August 2018
1.00PM – 2.00PM
House of Representatives Chamber
Museum of Australian Democracy

'A Woman's Place … is in the House' with Susan Ryan AO (first female Labor Minister); Rosemary Follett AO (first ACT Chief Minister); Anne Aly MP (first female federal parliamentarian of Muslim faith); Margaret Reid AO (the first and only woman to serve as President of the Senate) with Emma Alberici as moderator.

2018 is the 75th anniversary of the election of the first women to the federal parliament: Dame Dorothy Tangney to the Senate and Dame Enid Lyons to the House of Representatives (also the first woman to serve in federal Cabinet). What is it like to be a 'first'?  What were the issues facing women then and now? There are issues today in party representation, in protocols in the parliament and in our changing concepts of leadership.  This is an extraordinary line-up of ‘firsts’.

Dr Anne Aly was born in Alexandria in Egypt in 1967 and migrated to Australia at the age of two. Formerly a professor at Edith Cowan University, Anne is an internationally renowned expert in counterterrorism and counter-radicalisation, and was the only Australian to be invited to President Obama's White House conference on violent extremism in 2015. As a single working mother, she worked for years on the minimum wage to send her two boys to school and put food on the table. She is the Founding Chair of a youth-oriented not-for-profit organisation that harnesses youth entrepreneurship and innovation to address global issues at the local level. She is currently the Federal Member for Cowan, Western Australia.

Margaret Elizabeth Reid AO is a former Australian Federal politician who served as a Senator for the Australian Capital Territory from 1981 to 2003, representing the Liberal Party. She is the only woman to have served as President of the Senate, holding that office from 1996 to 2002. In 2004, she was appointed an Office (AO) in the Order of Australia for her service to the Australian Parliament and the community.

Rosemary Follett AO was the inaugural Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory, serving first in 1989 and again between 1991 and 1995. She was the first woman to become head of government in an Australian State or Territory. She was later Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Canberra and the ACT’s Sex Discrimination Commissioner.

From 1975 to 1988, the Hon Susan Ryan AO was Senator for the ACT, becoming the first woman to hold a Cabinet post in a federal Labor Government.  In the Hawke Government she served as Minister for Education and Youth Affairs, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on the Status of Women and Special Minister of State. Susan Ryan is an advocate for the rights of older people especially their right to affordable and secure housing. 

Emma Alberici is the ABC’s Chief Economics Correspondent and one of  Australia's most highly regarded journalists. Emma moved to the ABC in 2002 to present Business Breakfast. Since then she has been the 7.30 Report's Finance Editor and a senior reporter for radio current affairs' AM PM and The World Today. In 2008, Emma moved to the UK and spent four years as the Europe Correspondent for the ABC. With three children under three, Emma became the first Australian mother to be a foreign correspondent — something she is thrilled is not remarkable anymore.