The Hon. Fran Bailey
Women in Federal Parliament

The Hon. Fran Bailey

Member for McEwen (Vic.)

LIB, 1990–1993

Member for McEwen (Vic.)

LIB, 1996–2010

The Hon. Fran Bailey talking with students from Harcourt Primary School on a visit to Parliament House.

Image courtesy of Auspic.

The Hon. Fran Bailey represented the central Victorian electorate of McEwen in the House of Representatives for the Liberal Party from 1990 to 1993 and again from 1996 until 2010. She was the first Victorian Liberal woman in the House of Representatives.

In her first speech in Parliament, Bailey raised the needs of rural communities, defence force personnel, small business people and the value of tourism: themes that were to define her subsequent career. From 1996 to 2001 she chaired the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Primary Industries, Resources and Rural and Regional Affairs (later Primary Industries and Regional Services). From 2001 she served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Defence and in 2004 as Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence and Minister for Employment Services. Between 2004 and 2007 she was the Minister for Small Business and Tourism.

On leaving Parliament, Bailey nominated her work in the defence portfolio as the most rewarding. She reflected that being a local member for a marginal electorate was like being on a ‘high wire without a safety net’. Her greatest challenge came in 2009 when her electorate was severely affected by the Black Saturday bushfires, causing loss of life and widespread destruction of property, businesses and infrastructure.