Carolyn Jakobsen
Women in Federal Parliament

Carolyn Jakobsen

Member for Cowan (WA)

ALP, 1984–1993

Carolyn Jakobsen represented the Western Australian electorate of Cowan in the House of Representatives for the Australian Labor Party from 1984 to 1993. In 1990 she became the first woman to hold the position of chair of the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party (Caucus).

Jakobsen’s contributions to parliamentary debates focused particularly on taxation, housing, youth, employment, peace and disarmament. She spoke against a proposal to remove the funding of abortions from Medicare and in favour of a bill of rights to ensure the ‘essential rights of participation in public life’. In her first speech and in her contribution to debates on the 1986 Affirmative Action Bill, Jakobsen evoked the influence of Edith Cowan, after whom her electorate was named, in continuing to inspire the involvement of women in public affairs.

Carolyn Jackobsen with the then Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Youth Affairs, the Hon. John Dawkins.

Image courtesy of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.