Margaret Deahm

Member for Macquarie (NSW)

ALP, 1993–1996

Margaret Deahm (right) with Wendy Sledge, former Mayor of Hawkesbury, at the RAAF Base, Richmond, New South Wales.

Image courtesy of the Department of Defence.

Maggie Deahm was elected to the House of Representatives for the seat of Macquarie (NSW) in 1993 for the Australian Labor Party and served one term until 1996. Having entered Parliament at age 54, Deahm said that she had spent her life ‘gaining the experience, and what I consider to be the necessary qualifications, to be a fitting Member of Parliament’. Prior to her election she had been a member of the Blue Mountains City Council (1991–93), previously working as a freelance writer, editor, arts consultant and public servant in the NSW state government.

Deahm’s major work in the Parliament was in community services. She convened a Labor Caucus taskforce which reviewed aged care policy and as a member of the House of Representatives Community Affairs Committee was involved with inquiries into the home and community care system, the management and treatment of breast cancer, and youth homelessness. In the House she was vocal about social security issues including carers’ and veterans’ pension entitlements; the importance of good urban design, especially on the fringes of cities; the need for the improvement of river health; and the maintenance of a balance between the needs of the tourist industry and environmental protection. She was also an advocate of an Australian republic.