The Hon. Jocelyn Newman
Senator for Tasmania
The Hon. Jocelyn Newman entered federal politics sharing her party’s belief in the free citizen and opposition to big government and centralisation. In 1986 she was selected by the Tasmanian Parliament to represent Tasmania for the Liberal Party in the Senate.
From the beginning of her parliamentary career Senator Newman was particularly focused on the areas of justice, defence, education and equitable social security. Her early involvement in committees included time as chair of the Senate Select Committee into Public Interest Whistleblowing.
In 1988 she began the first of eight years in the shadow ministry, a large portion of which was in defence-related portfolios. In 1996 she was appointed as Minister for Social Security (1996–98) and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Status of Women (1996–97, 1998–2001). In these roles she oversaw the establishment of Centrelink, implemented funding changes to women’s organisations, introduced the family tax package and co-sponsored legislation incorporating sweeping child support reforms.
In September 1999, as Minister for Family and Community Services (1998–2001) (which included her former Social Security portfolio), Senator Newman facilitated a review of the Australian welfare system, the recommendations of which underpinned extensive welfare policy reforms. After 15 years of service she resigned from the Senate in 2002. She was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2005.