Amanda Vanstone and Julie Bishop important influences in Liberal Party's federal ranks

Amanda Vanstone and Julie Bishop have taken strong stands as ministers in Coalition federal governments.
Images courtesy Australian Parliament
 

Amanda Vanstone and Julie Bishop, as little-l liberals achieving in a conservative environment, continue the South Australian tradition of political mavericks.

Vanstone said she didn’t defer to male authority due to growing up in a female-headed household (her father died early) and attending a school (St Peter’s Collegiate Girls) run by women.

In 1984, at 31, Vanstone was elected the youngest member of the Australian senate and was appointed to John Howard’s' cabinet in 1996 as minister for employment, education, training and youth affairs. She presided over controversial heavy cuts to jobs programs.

In 1997, she was dropped from Cabinet but came back to eventually be immigration, multicultural and indigenous affairs minister. Again, she was involved in controversies such as the “Pacific Solution” for boat people and abolishing the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission. She retired from politics in 2007.

Also educated at St Peter’s Collegiate Girls School and Adelaide University, Julie Bishop was elected to the House of Representatives in 1998 representing the Western Australian seat of Curtin.

Bishop served in the Howard government with ministries for ageing, education, science, training and assisting the prime minister for women’s issues.

In 2008, Bishop was first woman of any party to become shadow treasurer. Although that was short lived, Bishop has shown remarkable staying power as Liberal Party deputy leader under the terms of Brendan Nelson, Malcolm Turnbull, Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull again. She had also retained her role a foreign minister since 2009.

Other related ADELAIDEAZ articles

Mary Lee a prime mover in Social Purity Society, Women's Suffrage League, women's union

A widow who'd given birth to seven children, Mary Lee, 58, migrated from Ireland to South Australia with a daughter in 1879 to care for a sick son. Lee campaigned passionately for women when they had few rights and poor work conditions. Her campaigns started as ladies secretary of the Social Purity Society, which had the age of consent for girls raised from 12 to 16. She was important in forming the South Australian Women’s Suffrage League in 1888. As secretary, Lee steered campaigns, petitions and deputations. At an 1889 meeting in Adelaide Town Hall on sweated labour, Lee called for women’s trade unions to address long hours and low pay in the clothing and boot trades. Lee was founding secretary of the Working Women’s Trade Union (1890–92). Through the 1890s depression, Lee served on the United Trades and Labour Council's distressed women and children’s committee. In 1896, Lee was appointed the first and only female official visitor to the Lunatic Asylum (1896–1908). Mary Lee’s final years were impoverished but she remained defiant and proud of her achievements.

South Australian Film Corporation's Lottie Lyell Award 100 years after 'Woman Suffers'

The South Australian Film Corporation launched an award in 2018 to commemorate Lottie Lyell’s trail-blazing impact on the Australia screen industry and to give significant financial support to a female-driven screen project. The annual $20,000 Lottie Lyell Award will be for a female film practitioner, based in South Australia, to develop or deliver a work – feature film, TV series, documentary, script or game – that’s bold, ambitious and full of promise. The award marked a century since Lottie Lyell starred in Australia’s first feminist film The Woman Suffers, also the first feature made by Southern Cross Feature Film Co, the first production company founded in South Australia. Screen pioneer Lyell was a writer, producer, director, editor and art director, and an accomplished horsewoman who did all her own stunts. Together with her partner in work and life Ray Longford, she made 28 films. They had been working together since 1909 as actors in a touring theatre company. Longford directed her in the film of The Fatal Wedding in 1911. Their second film, The Romantic Story of Margaret Catchpole, established her as Australia’s first female film star. Lyell became Longford’s partner in the making of their films and in their private life. The Woman Suffers, filmed in Adelaide when Lyell was 27, was their 13th film together since 1911. The next year they made The Sentimental Bloke, the most successful Australian film of its day. She appeared in all of Longford’s films as director up until On Our Selection, made in 1920 ( he is credited as co-writer). Lyell died of tuberculosis in 1925, aged 35. 

Roma Mitchell becomes Australia’s first female QC, supreme court judge, state governor

Roma Mitchell set a series of firsts for Australian women as a judge, Queen's Counsel, chancellor of Adelaide University and a governor of South Australia. She was also a pioneer of the Australian women’s rights movement. Mitchell served on many committees and contributed actively to many organisations, particularly those concerned with education, heritage, arts, equal opportunities and human rights. She was patron of the Centenary of Women's Suffrage in 1994.

 

 

Don Dunstan starts reform of Legislative Council controlled by rural conservatives

Don Dunstan, as leader of the Labor party during Steele Hall’s premiership (1968-70), first moved to reform the Legislative Council by replacing its voters’ property-based qualifications with voting opened to all adults. Again, the Legislative Council, led by conservative Ren DeGaris, blocked the reform. This opened the split between the Liberal and Country League’s rural conservative such as DeGaris and urban based-progressives and led to the breakaway Liberal Movement.

 

Gladys Elphick provides the ways for South Australian Aboriginal women to find a voice

Gladys Elphick was founding president (1964-73) of the Council of Aboriginal Women of South Australia, worked tirelessly alongside many influential Aboriginal women trailblazers including Betty Watson, Margaret Lawrie, Maude Tongerie and Lowitja O’Donoghue to start vital services such as Nunkuwarrin Yunti, Tauondi College and the Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement. The Council of Aboriginal Women of South Australia employed a social worker, set up sports clubs and arts and crafts groups, and encouraged women to learn public speaking to confidently express their ideas. An advocate of adult education courses for Aboriginal people, Elphick in the 1960s helped arrange evening art classes, conducted at Challa Gardens primary school by John Morley. These and other programs led in 1973 to the college of Aboriginal education, as part of the Underdale campus of the South Australian College of Advanced Education. In 1966-71, Elphick was a member of the South Australian Aboriginal Affairs Board. In 1973, the Aboriginal Community Centre was set up to house several services, with Elphick as treasurer and life member. She founded of the Aboriginal Medical Service in 1977. Known as “Aunty Glad”, Elphick in 1984 was named South Australian Aborigine of the Year. In 2003, the Aboriginal women’s group advising the International Women’s Day Committee (South Australia) presented the first Gladys Elphick award.

Contact Us

We welcome positive constructive feedback