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Beggs, Pamela Anne (1947 - )

23 May 1947
Inverell , New South Wales, Australia
Alternative Names
  • Austin, Pamela (Birth name)


Pamela Anne Beggs joined the Australian Labor Party in 1977 and sat in the Parliament of Western Australia as member for Whitfords from 1983 to 1993.


Pamela Anne Austin was born in Inverell, New South Wales, to Horace Joseph Austin, a tin miner, and Thelma Ruby Wilson. In 1951 the family moved to Greenbushes, Western Australia, a tin mining town about 200 kilometres south of Perth. Pamela was educated at Bridgetown High School and St Joseph's college in Bunbury. Austin spent four years in the Women's Royal Australian Air Force, reaching the rank of commissioned officer, after which she worked for Western Mining and Trace Element Laboratories. She married Thomas Glennie Beggs in 1972; they had three daughters together.

Pamela Beggs credits the Vietnam War with stirring her into political activity, and she was involved in the moratoriums in the early 1970s. She joined the Balcatta branch of the Australian Labor Party in 1977, and began participating actively in election campaigns. She won the seat of Whitfords for the Labor Party in 1983, and in 1985 was instrumental in having significant amendments made to the Sexual Assaults Bill, an achievement of which Beggs was particularly proud. While Minister for Housing and Planning (1989-1990) she tackled the shortage of affordable housing, and was involved with the construction of the Perth to Joondalup railway when she held the Transport portfolio. Beggs was appointed Minister for Tourism, Racing and Gaming in 1986. She retired from politics after losing to Liberal candidate Rob Johnson in 1993.

Sources used to compile this entry: 'Stirred by War into a Political Career, The West Australian, 5 March, 1986, p. 67.', The West Australian , Perth, Western Australia, 1986; Black, David and Bolton, Geoffrey (eds), Biographical Register of Members of the Parliament of Western Australia, Vol. 2, 1930-1990, Western Australian Parliamentary History Project, Perth, Western Australia, 1990; Black, David and Phillips, Harry, 'Making a Difference: Women in the West Australian Parliament 1921-1999', Parliament of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia, 2000; Watson, Judyth [ed.], We Hold Up Half the Sky: The Voices of Western Australian ALP Women in Parliament, Australian Labour Party, Perth, Western Australia, 1994.

Lisa MacKinney

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