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Anne Levy AO

b. 1934

Anne Levy AO (b. 1934) was the first female ever to preside in an Australian parliament. Gaining a master’s degree in 1963, she tutored at the University of Adelaide for many years and had two children before becoming an ALP member of the South Australian parliament in 1975. She was a member until 1997. She oversaw the Office of the Status of Women as well as the Consumer Affairs, Arts, Local Government and State Services portfolios at various periods, active in the areas of homosexual law reform, abortion law reform, euthanasia, rape law reform, childcare, maternity leave, equality in education for girls, equal pay and affirmative action. At the same time, she was a council member of the University of Adelaide; patron of the Humanist Society and 1986 Australian Humanist of the Year; a member of the Abortion Law Repeal Association; a founding member of the Family Planning Association; Patron of the Supporting Mothers Association of South Australia; a founding and life member and board chair of the National Foundation of Australian Women; an honorary life member of the Women’s Electoral Lobby; and a founding member of Emily’s List Australia. Having played a key role in the implementation of the Equal Opportunity Act in 1983, on 12 February 1986 at 11am she became President of the South Australian Legislative Council. Three hours later, Joan Child AO became speaker of the Federal House of Representatives.

Updated 2018