The Hon. Jacinta Collins
Women in Federal Parliament

The Hon. Jacinta Collins

Senator for Victoria

ALP, 1995–2005

Senator for Victoria

ALP, 2008–2019

The Hon. Jacinta Collins with her son at a Labor caucus meeting after a special motion was passed in September 1995 to allow children to attend meetings.

Image courtesy of Newspix/News Limited.

Jacinta Collins first entered the Senate in 1995 to fill a casual vacancy. She lost her seat in the 2004 federal election but returned to Parliament three years later. From the outset Collins aimed to use her position to achieve greater social justice and she was particularly proud of her contribution in government to school education reform and the Fair Work Act 2009.

Before entering the Senate, Collins was a union official with the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employee Association. In Parliament, she served as Parliamentary Secretary for School Education and Workplace Relations and briefly as Minister for Mental Health and Ageing. She held a number of shadow ministry positions and, in the period before her retirement, was Manager of Opposition Business in the Senate.

While noting she spent ‘too few years in government’, Collins believed much could be achieved from opposition, particularly through committee work and holding the government to account in Senate estimates. She chaired the Select Committee on a National Integrity Commission, whose recommendation that a corruption watchdog be established to investigate the conduct of the federal public sector and parliamentarians was taken up, to different degrees, by both major parties.