List of female heads of government in Australia

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A total of twelve women have served, or are serving, as the head of an Australian government. Of these, one has served as the prime minister of Australia, six as the premier of a state and four as the chief minister of a territory. Fifteen women have also served, or are serving, as the deputy head of government in Australian states and territories; one has served as the deputy prime minister of the country, eight as the deputy premier of a state, and six as the chief minister of a territory.

The first female head of government in Australia, was Rosemary Follett in 1989, who was the 1st Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory. Carmen Lawrence became the first female premier of a state in 1990, by serving as the 25th Premier of Western Australia. In 2010, Julia Gillard became the first, and to date, only female Prime Minister of Australia.

Today, every Australian state and territory has had at least one female government head, except for South Australia; the Australian Capital Territory has had the most, with three serving throughout its 27-year history; both New South Wales and Queensland have also a second female premier serving in their respective jurisdiction. The most female heads to serve concurrently was four, during the 315 days of 16 May 2011 to 26 March 2012. Clare Martin, who served as 7th Chief Minister of the Northern Territory for 6 years, from 2001 to 2007, has the longest–serving tenure of any female head of government in Australia. Queensland's Anna Bligh served as the 37th Premier of Queensland for 4 years, from 2007 to 2012, making her the longest–serving woman premier of a state. The shortest tenure of a female head of government, belongs to Kristina Keneally, who served as the 42nd Premier of New South Wales for a year, from December 2009 to March 2011.

There are currently two serving female heads of government in Australia, Annastacia Palaszczuk (39th Premier of Queensland) who was elected on 14 February 2015, and Gladys Berejiklian (45th Premier of New South Wales) who was appointed on 23 January 2017. Three women currently serve as deputy heads of government in Australia; Nicole Manison (Deputy Chief Minister of the Northern Territory) since 12 September 2016, Yvette Berry (Deputy Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory) since 31 October 2016 and Vickie Chapman (Deputy Premier of South Australia) since 19 March 2018. The tenures of these incumbents are accurate as of 25 January 2021.

Female heads of government[edit]


Portrait Title Name
State or Territory Term start Term end Elections Duration Party Notes
Chief Minister Rosemary Follett
(b. 1948)
Australian Capital Territory 11 May 1989 5 December 1989 1989,
4 years, 122 days   Labor [a]
6 June 1991 2 March 1995  
Carmen Lawrence 1990 (cropped).png Premier Carmen Lawrence
(b. 1948)
Western Australia 12 February 1990 16 February 1993 1993 3 years, 4 days   Labor [b]
Joan kirner.jpg Premier Joan Kirner
Victoria 10 August 1990 6 October 1992 1992 2 years, 57 days   Labor [c]
Carnell thumb.jpg Chief Minister Kate Carnell
(b. 1955)
Australian Capital Territory 2 March 1995 18 October 2000 1995,
5 years, 230 days   Liberal [d]
Clare Martin (7856638174).jpg Chief Minister Clare Martin
(b. 1952)
Northern Territory 18 August 2001 26 November 2007 2001,
6 years, 100 days   Labor [e]
Anna Bligh crop.jpg Premier Anna Bligh
(b. 1960)
Queensland 13 September 2007 26 March 2012 2009,
4 years, 195 days   Labor [f]
Kristina Keneally Portrait 2009.jpg Premier Kristina Keneally
(b. 1968)
New South Wales 4 December 2009 28 March 2011 2011 1 year, 114 days   Labor [g]
Julia Gillard 2010.jpg Prime Minister Julia Gillard
(b. 1961)
24 June 2010 27 June 2013 2010 3 years, 3 days   Labor [h]
Lara Giddings.jpg Premier Lara Giddings
(b. 1972)
Tasmania 24 January 2011 31 March 2014 2014 3 years, 66 days   Labor [i]
Katy Gallagher Portrait 2011.jpg Chief Minister Katy Gallagher
(b. 1970)
Australian Capital Territory 16 May 2011 11 December 2014 2012 3 years, 209 days   Labor [j]
Annastacia Palaszczuk 2016.jpg Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk
(b. 1969)
Queensland 14 February 2015 Incumbent 2015,
5 years, 346 days   Labor [k]
Gladys Berejiklian NSW (cropped).jpg Premier Gladys Berejiklian
(b. 1970)
New South Wales 23 January 2017 Incumbent 2019 4 years, 2 days   Liberal [l]

Deputy heads[edit]

Name State/
Party Premier/
Chief Minister/
Prime Minister
Term Start Term End Duration
Joan Kirner Victoria   Labor John Cain II 7 February 1989 10 August 1990 1 year, 184 days
Joan Sheldon Queensland   Liberal Rob Borbidge 19 February 1996 26 June 1998 2 years, 127 days
Sue Napier Tasmania   Liberal Tony Rundle 18 March 1996 14 September 1998 2 years, 180 days
Anna Bligh Queensland   Labor Peter Beattie 28 July 2005 13 September 2007 2 years, 47 days
Katy Gallagher Australian Capital Territory   Labor Jon Stanhope 20 April 2006 16 May 2011 5 years, 26 days
Marion Scrymgour Northern Territory   Labor Paul Henderson 26 November 2007 8 February 2009 1 year, 74 days
Julia Gillard Australia   Labor Kevin Rudd 3 December 2007 24 June 2010 2 years, 203 days
Lara Giddings Tasmania   Labor David Bartlett 26 May 2008 24 January 2011 2 years, 243 days
Carmel Tebbutt New South Wales   Labor Nathan Rees,
Kristina Keneally
5 September 2008 28 March 2011 2 years, 204 days
Delia Lawrie Northern Territory   Labor Paul Henderson 9 February 2009 29 August 2012 3 years, 202 days
Robyn Lambley Northern Territory   Country Liberal Terry Mills 29 August 2012 6 April 2013 251 days
Jackie Trad Queensland   Labor Annastacia Palaszczuk 14 February 2015 10 May 2020 5 years, 86 days
Liza Harvey Western Australia   Liberal Colin Barnett 16 February 2016 17 March 2017 1 year, 29 days[18]
Nicole Manison Northern Territory   Labor Michael Gunner 12 September 2016 Incumbent 4 years, 135 days
Yvette Berry Australian Capital Territory   Labor Andrew Barr 31 October 2016 Incumbent 4 years, 86 days[19]
Vickie Chapman South Australia   Liberal Steven Marshall 19 March 2018 Incumbent 2 years, 312 days[20]



Gladys BerejiklianAnnastacia PalaszczukKaty GallagherLara GiddingsJulia GillardKristina KeneallyAnna BlighClare MartinKate CarnellRosemary FollettJoan KirnerCarmen LawrenceRosemary Follett

Red represents members of the Australian Labor Party, blue represents members of the Liberal Party of Australia.

Deputy heads[edit]

Vickie ChapmanYvette BerryNicole ManisonLiza HarveyJackie TradRobyn LambleyDelia LawrieCarmel TebbuttLara GiddingsJulia GillardMarion ScrymgourKaty GallagherAnna BlighSue NapierJoan SheldonJoan Kirner

Red represents members of the Australian Labor Party, blue represents members of the Liberal Party of Australia and orange represents the Country Liberal Party.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Elected 1st Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory in May 1989, after her party formed government following the inaugural general election in March 1989. Defeated in a vote-of-no-confidence in December 1989, to Trevor Kaine. Returned to power in June 1991, following a vote-of-no-confidence against Kaine. Led Labor to victory at the 1992 general election. Defeated by the Liberals under Kate Carnell at the 1995 general election. First woman to become Chief Minister of a Territory of the Commonwealth of Australia. Only female government head to serve non-consecutive terms.[1]
  2. ^ Appointed 25th Premier of Western Australia in February 1990, following the resignation of Peter Dowding. Defeated at the state election in February 1993, by Richard Court (Liberal). First woman to become Premier of Western Australia, and hence, of a State within the Commonwealth of Australia.
  3. ^ Appointed 42nd Premier of Victoria in August 1990, following the resignation of John Cain II. Defeated at the state election in October 1992, by Jeff Kennett (Liberal). First, and to date, only woman Premier of Victoria.[2]
  4. ^ Elected 3rd Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory in March 1995, after defeating Labor under Rosemary Follett at the general election. Led the Liberals to victory at the 1998 general election. Resigned in October 2000.[3]
  5. ^ Elected 7th Chief Minister of the Northern Territory in August 2001, after defeating the Country Liberal Party under Denis Burke at the general election. Led Labor to victory at the 2005 general election. Resigned in November 2007. First woman Chief Minister of the Northern Territory, and the longest-serving woman head of government in Australia.[4]
  6. ^ Appointed 37th Premier of Queensland in September 2007, following the retirement of Peter Beattie. Led Labor to victory at the 2009 state election. Defeated at the 2012 state election in March 2012, by Campbell Newman (Liberal). First woman Premier of Queensland.[5][6]
  7. ^ Appointed 42nd Premier of New South Wales in December 2009, following a Labor Party leadership challenge against Nathan Rees. Defeated at the state election in March 2011, by Barry O'Farrell (Liberal). First woman Premier of New South Wales.[7]
  8. ^ Appointed 27th Prime Minister of Australia in June 2010, following a Labor Party leadership challenge against Kevin Rudd. Led Labor to victory at the 2010 federal election. Defeated in a leadership challenge by Rudd, in June 2013. First, and to date, only woman Prime Minister of Australia.[8]
  9. ^ Appointed 44th Premier of Tasmania in January 2011, following the resignation of David Bartlett. Defeated at the state election, in March 2014. First, and to date, only woman Premier of Tasmania.[9][10][11]
  10. ^ Appointed 6th Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory in May 2011, following the resignation of Jon Stanhope. Led Labor to victory at the 2012 general election. Resigned in December 2014.[12]
  11. ^ Elected 39th Premier of Queensland in February 2015, after defeating the Liberals under Campbell Newman at the state election.[13][14] Led Labor to victory at the 2017 state election[15] and the 2020 state election.[16] Only woman head of government to win three elections.
  12. ^ Appointed 45th Premier of New South Wales in January 2017, following the resignation of Mike Baird. Led the Liberals to victory at the 2019 state election.[17]


  1. ^ Profile. Retrieved 20 January 2016.
  2. ^ Wallace, Rick (1 June 2015). "Joan Kirner, first female premier of Victoria, dies aged 76". The Australian. Retrieved 20 January 2016.
  3. ^ "Carnell, Anne Katherine – profile". Encyclopedia of Australian Science. 1 August 2007. Archived from the original on 13 August 2012. Retrieved 19 April 2013.
  4. ^ Murdoch, Lindsay. "Clare Martin and deputy quit". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 20 January 2016.
  5. ^ Koren Helbig; Sarah Vogler (25 March 2012). "Anna Bligh quits: 'Labor cannot rebuild with me in its ranks'". The Sunday Mail. Retrieved 20 January 2016.
  6. ^ "Bligh resigns after election wipe-out". ABC News. 25 March 2012. Retrieved 20 January 2016.
  7. ^ "Keneally sworn in as state's first female premier". Herald Sun. 4 December 2009.
  8. ^ "The Hon Julia Gillard MP, Member for Lalor (Vic)". Australian House of Representatives. Retrieved 20 January 2016.
  9. ^ "Bartlett confirms resignation on Facebook". ABC News. Australia. 23 January 2011.
  10. ^ "Tasmanian premier to resign". The Sydney Morning Herald. AAP. 23 January 2011.
  11. ^ Atherton, Ben (15 March 2014). "Liberals swept to power in Tasmania, Labor hopeful of clinging to power in South Australia". ABC News. Australia. Retrieved 20 January 2016.
  12. ^ "Katy Gallagher resigns as Chief Minister, declares for Senate". The Canberra Times. 5 December 2014. Retrieved 4 December 2014. Retrieved 20 January 2016.
  13. ^ Robertson, Joshua (13 February 2015). "Annastacia Palaszczuk new premier of Queensland after Labor wins 44 seats". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 January 2016.
  14. ^ "Queensland election 2015: Annastacia Palaszczuk sworn in as Premier". Australian Broadcasting Corporation (14 February 2015). Retrieved 20 January 2016.
  15. ^ "Queensland election: Labor's Annastacia Palaszczuk claims victory with at least 47 seats". Australian Broadcasting Corporation (8 December 2017). Retrieved 8 December 2017.
  16. ^ Beaumont, Adrian (31 October 2020). "Labor wins Queensland election, as Greens could win up to four seats". The Conversation. Retrieved 31 October 2020.
  17. ^ Blumer, Clare. (23 January 2017). "Gladys Berejiklian is Premier of New South Wales, replacing Mike Baird". ABC. Retrieved 23 January 2017
  18. ^ AAP. (13 March 2017). "WA election: Alannah MacTiernan seeks cabinet role in McGowan government". The Australian. Retrieved 13 March 2017.
  19. ^ Lawson, Kirsten. (17 October 2016). "ACT election 2016: Yvette Berry backed for Labor deputy as Greens weigh up coalition or crossbench". The Canberra Times. Retrieved 17 October 2016.
  20. ^ AAP. (13 March 2017). "SA election: Jay Weatherill to resign as Labor leader after loss to Liberals". ABC News. Retrieved 18 March 2018.

External links[edit]