The Hon. Wendy Fatin
Women in Federal Parliament

The Hon. Wendy Fatin

Member for Canning (WA) and Brand (WA)

ALP, 1983–1996

The Hon. Wendy Fatin became the first Western Australian woman to be a member of the House of Representatives when she was elected as the Member for Canning for the Australian Labor Party in 1983. From 1984 until her retirement in 1996 she represented the electorate of Brand.

As a founding member of the Women’s Electoral Lobby and one-time State President of the Labor Women’s Organisation, Fatin had a long involvement in women’s issues. As the representative of a partly rural electorate she was also mindful of local welfare and employment issues and the needs of rural women. In 1987 she was appointed deputy chair of the Prime Minister’s Country Task Force.

Between 1990 and 1993 she served as the Minister for Local Government, the Minister for Arts and Territories and the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Status of Women. Priorities for women addressed by Fatin during this period included domestic violence, childcare, parental leave, paid maternity leave, wage equity, women’s health and sexism in the media.

On leaving the House, she singled out two achievements she found particular pride in having helped bring about: the transfer of nursing education to the tertiary sector and the House of Representatives Community Affairs Committee report on the management and treatment of breast cancer in Australia.

The Hon. Wendy Fatin (centre) and Her Majesty the Queen.

Image courtesy of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.