The Hon. Margaret Reid
Women in Federal Parliament

The Hon. Margaret Reid

Senator for the Australian Capital Territory

LIB, 1981–2003

The Hon. Margaret Reid.

Image courtesy of the Canberra Times.

The Hon. Margaret Reid entered the Senate in 1981 as the first female Liberal senator to represent the Australian Capital Territory. Senator Reid was a strong advocate of the benefits and attractions of Canberra. She supported the move towards self-government in the ACT and from 1981 to 1983 chaired the Joint Committee on the Australian Capital Territory.

After serving as Deputy Government Whip and Deputy Opposition Whip, Reid was appointed Opposition Whip in the Senate in 1987, a position she held for nearly eight years. In 1995 she became the first woman to be elected as Deputy President of the Senate and Chair of Committees and in 1996 she was the first woman to be elected as President of the Senate, serving until 2002. As President she was remembered for her dignity and integrity and for the support and assistance she extended to parliamentary institutions in developing countries, especially in the South Pacific.

After more than 20 years in the Senate she resigned in 2003. In one of her last speeches to the Senate she detailed the extraordinary events of the Canberra 2003 bushfires, recounting with pride the response of the Canberra community. She was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2004.