90 years since Queensland elected its first woman


The first woman elected to Queensland Parliament was forbidden from getting into the members’ eating room, so ate her lunch on the verandah outdoors.

Nobody is aware of the place Irene Longman relieved herself on lengthy sitting days, as there have been no feminine bogs at Parliament House.

When Mrs Longman ran for the seat of Bulimba in 1929, it was thought-about a “hopeless” effort and no one actually thought she might win.

Irene Longman was the first woman elected to the Queensland Parliament in 1929.Credit:State Library of Queensland

Described as a “quiet, but forceful speaker” with a “a pleasing voice, an enormous coronary heart, and an enormous thoughts filled with plans and reforms for the longer term”, she confronted an uphill battle from the get-go.

“Prejudice dies onerous in any case,” she stated in 1950.

It took Queensland virtually 40 years to elect its second woman to Parliament – Vi Jordan in 1966. There was nonetheless no rest room prepared for her.

Mrs Jordan would go away her excessive heels outdoors the lads’s rest room at Parliament House so male MPs would know she was utilizing it, quipped Anna Bligh, Queensland’s first feminine premier.

Mrs Longman, whose brothers Percy and James Bayley have been additionally MPs, was a well known character in Brisbane earlier than she was elected to the seat of Bulimba in May 1929.

She spent 18 years engaged in welfare work, serving to to introduce public playgrounds and the creche and kindergarten actions in Brisbane.

The pioneer was married to Heber Longman, who was Queensland Museum director for nearly 30 years. They did not have any youngsters.

At the time of her dying in 1964, then-opposition chief Jack Duggan stated it was “typically a incapacity for a person to be the husband of a well-known woman”.

“I do not know whether Mrs Longman is remembered as the wife of the director of the Queensland Museum or whether Mr Longman is remembered as the husband of the first woman member of parliament in Queensland.”

Anna Bligh became Queensland's first female premier in 2007.

Anna Bligh turned Queensland’s first feminine premier in 2007.Credit:Cole Bennetts

Interviewed by the Queensland Times in 1929, Mr Longman was “serenely smoking while his wife was plied with questions”.

“And what do you consider all of it?” the interviewer requested Mr Longman.

He replied: “When my spouse was first endorsed as a candidate, I felt a robust want to exit west and hunt for brand spanking new fossils, however that feeling quickly modified, and I’ve actually loved the campaigns.”

Though she was in Parliament for just one time period, Irene Longman achieved a lot for Queensland ladies.

Her biggest legacy was paving the best way for the first ladies to function cops within the state.

Katarina Carroll is the current commissioner of the Queensland Fire and Emergency Service and will take over the top job in the Queensland Police Service in July.

Katarina Carroll is the present commissioner of the Queensland Fire and Emergency Service and can take excessive job within the Queensland Police Service in July.Credit:AAP/Darren England

In July, Katarina Carroll will develop into first woman to steer the state’s police service in its 155-year historical past. She didn’t want to contribute to this story.

The Country and Progressive National Party, an early iteration of the LNP, preselected Mrs Longman the seat of Bulimba, which was thought-about a Labor stronghold on the time.

In a speech given in 1950, Mrs Longman acknowledged she was probably preselected for the seat as a result of her social gathering thought-about it “hopeless” and no one anticipated her to win.

Her Labor rival, Albert Wright, definitely didn’t assume his feminine opponent would have an opportunity of unseating him.

“Well, you understand, I’m solely being opposed by a woman,” he stated in relation to his re-election prospects.

Not solely did Mrs Longman win the seat, she secured an enormous swing in her social gathering’s favour, in accordance with the the state Legislative Assembly’s then-clerk, Charles Bernays.

“And so it happened that one little feeble woman, full to the brim of power, overflowing with sympathy for her intercourse; easy, non-aggressive, ladylike to her fingertips, simply metaphorically took A.H. Wright by the scruff of the neck and scrubbed the entire floor of the massive Bulimba citizens with him, wiping out a earlier majority of hundreds, and changing it right into a minority,” he wrote.

On the night time of her election, Mrs Longman acquired an awesome ovation as she was hoisted on the shoulders of two males over a jubilant crowd singing For She’s A Jolly Good Fellow and was declared “the best man of all of them”.

Irene Longman served just one term in Queensland Parliament, from 1929-1932.

Irene Longman served only one time period in Queensland Parliament, from 1929-1932.Credit:State Library of Queensland

It is becoming that 90 years on, Mrs Longman’s former seat of Bulimba is held by Minister for Women Di Farmer.

“When Irene Longman was elected, Parliament was virtually hostile territory. Of the 72 members of Parliament, there have been seven Williams and 5 Georges, however only one woman,” Ms Farmer stated.

“I’m proud to comply with in her footsteps because the second ever feminine Member for Bulimba, however she was additionally fairly progressive when it comes to youth justice reform.

“It’s due to Irene that we convene Children’s Courts individually to adults, in separate, personal and protected venues.

“She additionally successfully created the first advisory panel to work with younger individuals within the youth justice system with complicated and troublesome instances.”

Ms Farmer stated Bulimba could be the one place within the nation represented by ladies on all three ranges of presidency: herself, federal MP Terri Butler and Brisbane metropolis councillor Kara Cook.

“Irene didn’t get to see one other woman in Parliament in her lifetime. I feel she can be proud to see how far we’ve progressed since then, and I’m additionally satisfied she would urge us to maintain going,” she stated.

In interviews with journalists within the 1950s, Mrs Longman lamented the very fact the subsequent era of girls have been sluggish placing their arms up for public workplace.

“Men in Australia have but to study that till they’ve ladies sitting with them we’ll by no means go forward as we should always,” Mrs Longman stated.

“Men speak an excessive amount of – and about issues that don’t matter. You will get worn out listening to them.”

Ninety years since Mrs Longman was sworn in, Queensland’s Premier, Deputy Premier and Opposition Leader are all ladies.

And there are an equal variety of female and male loos at Parliament House.

No other state has had a female premier and female opposition leader at the same time.

No different state has had a feminine premier and feminine opposition chief on the similar time.Credit:AAP

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk stated pioneers corresponding to Irene Longman ought to be recognized and celebrated.

“It’s often said that we can’t be what we can’t see,” she stated.

“We have to encourage extra ladies to comply with Irene’s lead taking management roles in politics and enterprise.

“As I’ve stated, it’s not the footwear we stand in that matter, it’s what we stand for that makes an actual distinction.”

Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington stated she had been impressed by Mrs Longman’s achievements and hoped her legacy would encourage different ladies to enter politics.

“Irene Longman was a trailblazer for ladies in Queensland and deserves to be a lot better recognized than she is,” she stated.

“She was fearless, clever and outspoken. I’m proud that the forerunner of the LNP nominated her to face for Bulimba approach again in 1929.

“Her Labor opponent stated he wasn’t apprehensive concerning the election as he ‘was only opposed by a woman’. Boy, did he get a shock,” Ms Frecklington stated.

“She changed the face of Parliament and she changed the face of policing. In a man’s world, she proved that women can do anything.”

Specialist Librarian Libby Fielding stated there was “a lot of apprehension” from Mrs Longmans’s male colleagues after she was elected.

“As far as I can inform, studying between the strains, there was a good quantity of aid once they found Irene was not an aggressive individual. She was thought-about gently assertive,” she stated.

“It would of been very difficult incomes the respect of the 71 males in Parliament.”

Ms Fielding stated regardless of defeat on the 1932 election, Mrs Longman remained common.

Party leader Arthur Edward Moore focused on women's issues in the 1929 election when Irene Longman won her seat. 

Party chief Arthur Edward Moore targeted on ladies’s points within the 1929 election when Irene Longman gained her seat. Credit:State Library of Queensland

“She was nicely considered, the truth that she was knocked out on the subsequent election was not a mirrored image on her however simply the circumstance of the occasions,” she stated.

Apart from a quick three years in opposition when Mrs Longman’s social gathering ruled, Labor held energy for 40 years.

The federal electoral division of Longman, created in 1996, is known as after Irene Longman.

Sources: The Land June 7, 1929; Queensland Figaro May four, 1929; The Sydney Morning Herald May 13, 1929; Queensland Times May 13, 1929; The Warwick Daily News February 13, 1953; State Library of Queensland assets.

Lydia Lynch is a reporter for the Brisbane Times

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