The Hon. Margaret Reynolds
Women in Federal Parliament

The Hon. Margaret Reynolds

Senator for Queensland

ALP, 1983–1999

The Hon. Margaret Reynolds in 1990 opening Skillshare, which provided training courses and assistance for unemployed people trying to re-enter the work force.

Image courtesy of Sunshine Coast Daily/APN.

The Hon. Margaret Reynolds became the first female Australian Labor Party senator to represent Queensland when she was elected to the Senate in 1983. Prior to entering Parliament, she worked as a teacher, lecturer and councillor on Townsville City Council.

During her parliamentary career Senator Reynolds was Parliamentary Secretary for Local Government, Minister for Local Government and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on the Status of Women. She chaired the Senate Privileges Committee and the Senate Select Committee on Community Standards Relevant to the Supply of Services Utilising Electronic Technologies, as well as a number of Senate estimates committees.

In the Senate, Reynolds maintained a strong voice on a range of issues notably women’s rights, women’s reproductive health, civil liberties, international human rights, native title, Aboriginal health, education and reconciliation and the environment. She was also deeply committed to the increased participation of women in parliament.

Reynolds was a federal government representative on the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation (1991–96) and served as parliamentary adviser at the United Nations General Assembly in 1997. After her retirement from parliamentary politics in 1999, she became the national president of the United Nations Association of Australia, and taught international human rights at the University of Queensland.