Joan Child

Gloria Joan Liles Child (1921-2013) was a Labor member (1974-75 and 1980-90) for the seat of Henty. A commitment to social justice underpinned her political career. From 1986-89 she became the first woman to hold the office of Speaker of the House of Representatives. Although the opposition disagreed with a number of her rulings, all members held her in high personal esteem.


11 February 1986

First female Speaker

On 11 February, Joan Child becomes the first woman to be elected as Speaker of the House of Representatives in the federal parliament. She is unanimously nominated by the Australian Labor Party, and her appointment is not opposed by the Liberal opposition. Child is liked and respected by Members from both sides of the Chamber. She resigns as Speaker in 1989.


Joan Child.