Janine Haines
Women in Federal Parliament

Janine Haines

Senator for South Australia

AD, 1977–1978

Senator for South Australia

AD, 1981–1990

Janine Haines first stood for the Senate in 1975 as a Liberal Movement candidate. In 1977 she was appointed by the South Australian Parliament to fill a Senate casual vacancy, becoming the first Australian Democrat representative in the Parliament. Senator Haines re-entered the Senate after the 1980 election, becoming Deputy Leader of the Australian Democrats in 1985 and Leader in 1986—the first woman to lead a party in the federal parliament.

Haines had a strong interest in women’s and Indigenous issues, human rights and social justice and spoke often about the impact of government legislation on families and poorer people in the community. Her action on community health concerns led to the formation of the Select Committee on Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes which sought to increase the standards of care within these facilities. With her party having the balance of power in the Senate she was also able to negotiate changes to a number of pieces of legislation including those related to Medicare and the Sex Discrimination Act 1984. She was a determined opponent of the introduction of tertiary fees and the proposed Australian identity card.

In 1990 she resigned from the Senate to contest the South Australian House of Representatives seat of Kingston; however she was unsuccessful and retired from politics. She was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in 2001.

Janine Haines.

Image courtesy of Auspic.