Four of five women in Turnbull cabinet attended girls’ schools

22 September 2015

The Alliance of Girls’ Schools Australasia warmly congratulates all women appointed by Australia’s new Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, to positions in his ministry, including the five women appointed to cabinet posts, four of whom attended girls’ schools. Senator Marise Payne, Australia’s first female Minister for Defence, attended MLC School, Sydney, joining Julie Bishop, Australia’s first Minister for Foreign Affairs, a graduate of St Peter’s Girls’ School, Adelaide.

Kelly O’Dwyer, the new Minister for Small Business and Assistant Treasurer, attended Presbyterian Ladies’ College in Melbourne, and Senator Michaelia Cash, alumna of Iona Presentation College in Perth, is Minister for Employment, Minister for Women and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service.

Australia’s newest additions to the Federal Cabinet join a long list of “firsts” and significant achievements for women who have attended Australian girls’ schools. Of the six current and past female state premiers, four attended girls’ schools – Dr Carmen Lawrence, Joan Kirner, Lara Giddings and Anastasia Palaszczuk – and graduates of girls’ schools have the distinction of becoming the first women to be appointed as a minister in the Federal Government, Governor-General of Australia, Governor of an Australian state, and Premier of an Australian state. Just some of the notable alumnae of Australian girls’ schools include:

Dame Quentin Bryce (Moreton Bay College, QLD) – first female Governor of Queensland and first female Governor-General of Australia

Christine Milne (St Mary’s College, TAS) – leader of the Australian Greens from 2012 to 2015 and the first female leader of a Tasmanian political party

Dr Carmen Lawrence (Santa Maria College, WA) – first female Premier of an Australian state and first woman directly elected as Federal President of the Australian Labor Party

Nicola Roxon (Methodist Ladies’ College, VIC) – first female Attorney-General in the federal parliament

Amanda Vanstone (St Peter’s Girls’ School, SA) – first female Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs (2003), Justice and Customs (1997), and Employment and Workplace Relations (1996) in the federal parliament

Joan Kirner (Penleigh Presbyterian Ladies’ College, VIC) – first female Premier of Victoria

Lara Giddings (Methodist Ladies’ College, VIC) – first female Premier of Tasmania

Annastasia Palaszczuk (St Mary’s College, QLD) – second female Premier of Queensland and the first woman in Australia to become Premier of a state from Opposition

Dame Roma Mitchell (St Aloysius College, SA) – Australia’s first female Queen’s Counsel, first female Commonwealth Supreme Court judge, first female Chancellor of an Australian university and first female Governor of an Australian state

Dame Annabelle Rankin (The Glennie School, QLD) – first Australian woman to be appointed Government Whip (1951), first female to be appointed as minister in a state or federal parliament when she became the Federal Minister for Housing in 1966, and the first Australian woman to head a diplomatic mission.

To view the Alliance’s First Women and Women of Achievement galleries, click here