Dame Marie Breen
Women in Federal Parliament

Dame Marie Breen

Senator for Victoria

LIB, 1962–1968

Dame Marie Breen was elected as a Liberal Party senator for Victoria in 1962. Involved in countless family and community organisations, often as a founding or executive member, she was a tireless advocate for the interests of women and children. This continued throughout her parliamentary career where she supported increases in government welfare, stating that a ‘stable national life depends very largely upon stable family life’.

Senator Breen was an active supporter of Australia’s role in improving relations between Asia and the West, particularly through the Colombo Plan which provided humanitarian aid to developing countries. She also spoke in support of Australia’s role and achievements in Papua New Guinea and the efforts to combat communism in Vietnam and Indonesia.

Breen became the first woman to chair a Senate committee when she headed the Printing Committee from 1965. She was a member of the Joint Select Committee on Parliamentary and Government Publications which inquired into and reported on the printing, publication and distribution of parliamentary papers and government publications.

After retiring in 1968 she was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1979.

Dame Marie Breen (right) with English actress Irene Handl in 1966.

Image courtesy of Fairfax Syndication.