Gai Brodtmann
Women in Federal Parliament

Gai Brodtmann

Member for Canberra (ACT)

ALP, 2010–2019

Gai Brodtmann with her husband, Chris Uhlmann, at their home in Canberra in 2010.

Image courtesy of Newspix/Ray Strange.

After careers in the public service and small business, Gai Brodtmann stood for Parliament wanting ‘to serve and represent my community, to fight for my beloved Canberra’.

The self-described ‘queen’ of members’ statements, Brodtmann used these 90-second speeches to advocate for and celebrate Canberra, denouncing cuts to the public service, national institutions and schools. As an Ambassador for Endometriosis she promoted awareness of this disease and ovarian cancer. A ‘strong and confident feminist’, she said mentoring girls and women was a highlight of her parliamentary career.

Brodtmann, who came from ‘a working-class matriarchy of single mothers’, was no stranger to hardship. She was 11 when her father left the family with just $30 in the bank—an experience she said shaped her politics and values. The first in her family to attend university, Brodtmann regarded herself as ‘living proof of the transformative powers of education’ and staunchly defended government schools and universal access to education.

As Shadow Assistant Minister for Cyber Security and Defence, she pushed for greater safeguards against cyber threats. Though honoured to serve in the shadowy ministry, Brodtmann said helping constituents overcome injustice was a reminder ‘there is no greater office in this chamber than that of local member’.