Dame Enid Muriel Lyons

Dame Enid Muriel Lyons (1897-1981) supported the political career of her husband, Joseph Lyons, before becoming the first female member (1943-51) of the House of Representatives and the first woman (1949-51) in federal Cabinet. Her politics were pragmatic and undogmatic, her party allegiances (Labor then United Australia and afterwards Liberal) secondary to her desire to make society secure and just. Courtesy Australian Dictionary of Biography

Events

21 August 1943

First women in federal parliament

Dorothy Tangney (Australian Labor Party, later Dame Dorothy) and Dame Enid Lyons (United Australia Party and later Liberal Party) become the first women to be elected to federal parliament, in the Senate and House of Representatives, respectively. In 1949 Enid Lyons becomes the first woman to hold a rank in the federal Cabinet.

TAGS

Senator Dorothy M Tangney (left) and Dame Enid Lyons GBE entering the front door of the House of Representatives.
1 April 1947

Senate Opposition Whip

Dame Florence Cardell-Oliver is the first female Cabinet Minister in an Australian parliament (Western Australia), while Senator Annabelle Rankin (Liberal Party) becomes the Opposition Whip in the Senate. Two years later, Dame Enid Lyons becomes the first woman to hold a rank in the federal Cabinet.

TAGS

Annabelle Rankin at Old Parliament House, Canberra. 1946.