The Hon. Ros Kelly
Women in Federal Parliament

The Hon. Ros Kelly

Member for Canberra (ACT)

ALP, 1980–1995

The Hon. Ros Kelly, Minister for Defence Science and Personnel, preparing for take-off.

Image courtesy of the Canberra Times.

A member of the Australian Labor Party, the Hon. Ros Kelly became the first woman member of the House of Representatives from the ACT when she represented the electorate of Canberra from 1980 to 1995. She was the first serving member of parliament to have given birth to children and the second woman in the House of Representatives to hold ministerial office.

Kelly, who was a member of the ACT Legislative Assembly from 1974 until 1979, entered Parliament with a strong interest in the needs of the Canberra community including the public service and federal responsibility for the administration of the national capital. She served as chair of the Joint Committee on the Australian Capital Territory from 1985 until 1987.

Kelly held several ministerial portfolios between 1987 and 1994 including Defence Science and Personnel; Telecommunications and Aviation Support; Arts, Sport, the Environment, Tourism and Territories; and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Status of Women.

She was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2004 for her service to the Parliament and to the broader community through promoting corporate environmental responsibility, fostering dialogue between business and conservation groups and to women’s health. ships, and chair of the National Breast Cancer Foundation.