The Hon. Bronwyn Bishop
Women in Federal Parliament

The Hon. Bronwyn Bishop

Senator for New South Wales

LIB, 1987–1994

Member for Mackellar (NSW)

LIB, 1994–2016

Bronwyn Bishop first entered federal parliament in 1987 as a Senator for New South Wales representing the Liberal Party. In 1994 she resigned from the Senate and successfully contested the House of Representatives seat of Mackellar, which she retained at seven subsequent elections.

Before entering parliament, Bishop worked as a solicitor and a company director. She had joined the Liberal Party at 17 years of age and in 1985 became the first female president of its NSW division. In her first speech in the Senate, Bishop spoke of her belief in four freedoms espoused by the Liberal Party: freedom of the individual, freedom of choice, freedom to pursue excellence and freedom to seek reward for effort. During her Senate career she focused on trade, industry and resources and became renowned for her in-depth questioning during Senate estimates hearings.

After her move to the House of Representatives, Bishop held two ministerial roles: Minister for Defence Industry, Science and Personnel and Minister for Aged Care. From 2013 to 2015 she served as the 29th Speaker of the House of Representatives; she was the first Liberal woman to be elected to the role.

Bishop was the longest serving female parliamentarian at the time of her retirement in 2016, having served for nearly 30 years.

The Hon. Bronwyn Bishop with two members of the Parramatta Eels rugby league team in 1988.

Image courtesy of Newspix/News Limited.