Dame Dorothy TangneyPrint Page Print this page

The sculpture commemorates Dame Dorothy Tangney (1907 - 1985) , who was Australia's first female Senator in the Federal Parliament.

Dame Dorothy Margaret Tangney DBE (1907 – 1985) was an Australian politician. She was a member of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) and served as a Senator for Western Australia from 1943 to 1968. She was the first woman elected to the Senate and one of the first two women elected to Federal Parliament, along with Enid Lyons.

In the Senate, Tangney "actively promoted the needs and interests of women, and provided vital conduits for women who approached them, either singly or in organised groups, to raise their concerns". She supported increased federal involvement in social services, including the expansion of child endowment, pensions for widow's and deserted wives, increased public housing and the introduction of a national health system with medical and hospital benefits. Tangney also took a keen interest in education, calling on greater federal support of universities. She supported the establishment of the Australian National University (ANU) and in 1951 was appointed to the inaugural ANU Council, serving until 1968.

In 1954, Tangney was elected to the ALP's parliamentary executive with the support of the left faction, although some of her views were considered right-wing. She was an anti-communist and opposed Jessie Street's Women's Charter movement, describing it as "Communist-inspired". According to her biographer Carmen Lawrence, she "projected a fairly conventional view of womanhood" and did not describe herself as a feminist. Despite her anti-communism, Tangney opposed Australia`s involvement in the Vietnam War, particularly the use of National Servicemen, citing the experiences of her family in earlier wars. She lobbied for the construction of a naval base in Cockburn Sound, which was eventually built as HMAS Stirling.

In 1968, despite the ALP's objection to imperial honours, Tangney became the first woman born in Western Australia to be appointed a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire. Her award was for her services to the Australian Parliament.


Address:18 King George Terrace , Old Parliament House, Parkes, 2600
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -35.301961
Long: 149.129922
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Sculpture
Monument Theme:People
Sub-Theme:Government - Federal
Artist:Lis Johnson (Barkers Creek, VIC)


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Wednesday 8th March, 2023
Source: MA,ADB
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au