Australian Women's Register

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

Skip to content
  • Click to view details about this Image

    Joan Child, Carnegie, Victoria, ca. 1975, by Howard, Bruce


  • The Encyclopedia of Women and Leadership in Twentieth-Century Australia

Use Trove to find more resources by/about this Woman

  • Trove

Child, Gloria Joan Liles (1921 - 2013)

The Honourable, AO, 2001 Victorian Honour Roll of Women

3 August 1921
Yackandandah, Victoria, Australia
23 February 2013
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Alternative Names
  • Liles, Gloria Joan (maiden name)


Joan Child was the first female member of the Australian Labor Party to be elected to the federal Parliament in the House of Representatives as Member for the seat of Henty in 1974. She lost her seat in the 1975 general election, but regained it in 1980. She became the first female Speaker of the House of Representatives in 1986, holding the position until she resigned in 1989. She remained the only female speaker of the house until October 2012, when Anna Burke was appointed to the position.

Joan Child retired from parliament in 1990 when the seat of Henty was abolished in an electoral redistribution. She was appointed Officer of the Order of Australia in June 1990.

She died on February 23, 2013 at the age of 91. In a statement from Prime Minister Julia Gillard, on the occasion of her passing, Joan Child was remembered as a pioneer and an inspiration. 'As a confirmed true believer, Joan never forgot who had put her into politics or why. She was a powerful voice for the needs and rights of women, especially working women and women doing it tough.'



Inducted onto the Victorian Honour Roll of Women

Sources used to compile this entry: 'First federal woman speaker Joan Child dies', The Age, Fairfax, 25 February 2013,; Kerr, Christian, 'PM omits party's first female MP,' The Australian, 6 March 2013. Veitch, Harriet, 'Joan Child AO, Former Speaker of the House. 3-8-1921 - 23 - 2 - 2013', The Age, 4 March 2013.

Digital resources

Joan Child, Carnegie, Victoria, ca. 1975
Howard, Bruce


Rosemary Francis

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