Australian Women's Register

An initiative of The National Foundation for Australian Women (NFAW) in conjunction with The University of Melbourne

Skip to content


  • Putting Skirts on the Sacred Benches: Women Candidates for the New South Wales Parliament

Use Trove to find more resources by/about this Woman

  • Trove

Skinner, Jillian Gell (1944 - )

5 August 1944
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Journalist, Public servant and Parliamentarian
Alternative Names
  • Coutts, Jillian (maiden name)


Jillian Skinner, a Liberal Party member, has been a well known and active Member of Parliament for more than twenty years.. However in her first two attempts to enter parliament via the New South Wales Legislative Assembly seat of North Shore (1984 and 1988) were unsuccessful. Jillian's luck finally changed in 1994 when she won the seat at the by-election. She was re-elected to the seat in 1995, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2015. Throughout this time Jillian has held the following appointments:
Shadow Minister for Youth Affairs, 1995-1999, 2002-2003.
Shadow Minister for Health, 1995-2003, September 2005 to date.
Shadow Minister for Education and Training 2003-2005.
Shadow Minister for the Arts 2003-2008.
Shadow Minister for School Education April-September 2005.
Minister for Medical Research 2011-2015.
Minister for Health, 2011-


Jillian Skinner was born in Melbourne in 1944, the daughter of Robert and Lois Coutts. She served her cadetship in journalism on the Melbourne Herald. She worked as a journalist for News Limited and Radio Hong Kong from 1962-1973, returning to live in Sydney in 1979. From 1984 to 1988 she ran Jillian Skinner and Associates, doing editorial writing, research, policy development and strategic planning.

She is married to Christopher Skinner, and they have three children. When her children were small, she became active in P. & C. affairs in North Sydney and was a founding member of the North Sydney Occasional Childcare.

From 1988 to 1994 she was Director of the New South Wales Office of Youth Affairs.
She has held office in the Liberal Party at all levels, local, electorate and State.

Elected to the Legislative Assembly at a by-election in 1994, following the resignation of Phillip Smiles, she was appointed to the Shadow Ministry the following year, after the defeat of the Fahey government. In 2005 she held first, the shadow ministry of Education and then Health.

Sources used to compile this entry: (accessed 23 September 2004); Who's Who in Australia 2003; (accessed 1 April 2005); Ephemera on NSW State and local elections, Box 12, Mitchell Library collection, State Library of NSW, Sydney.

Annette Alafaci

Site-wide information and acknowledgements

National Foundation for Australian Women The University of Melbourne, eScholarship Research Centre

© Copyright in The Australian Women's Register is owned by the Australian Women's Archives Project
and vested in each of the authors in respect of their contributions from 2000

The Australian Women's Register is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License

The Australian Women's Register is published quarterly by the Australian Women's Archives Project
ISSN 2207-3124