Senator for Western Australia
Australian Democrat Jean Jenkins was elected to the Senate at the 1987 double dissolution election as a Western Australian senator and served for a three-year term. Having been a linguist for many years she supported a national policy on languages and on occasion brought her multilingual skills into the chamber, speaking in Italian during her first speech and in Welsh during her valedictory speech.
Senator Jenkins was an advocate of peace, environmental and social justice issues. She regularly delivered speeches on human rights including Aboriginal deaths in custody and wildlife and heritage conservation, including the Conservation Legislation Amendment Bill 1988. Having been a technical and further education (TAFE) college lecturer she expressed concern for cuts to funding for TAFEs, particularly in light of increasing demand. She also contributed to debates on a range of other controversial legislation including war crimes and x-rated videos.
Jenkins served as Deputy Leader of the Democrats in 1990 for a short time until her defeat in the election later that year.