Australian Women's Register

An initiative of The National Foundation for Australian Women (NFAW) in conjunction with The University of Melbourne

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Levy, Anne (1934 - )

The Honourable

29 September 1934
Perth, Western Australia, Australia


Anne Levy was the first woman to preside in any house of any Parliament in Australia. She was elected to the South Australian Legislative Council in 1975 where she remained until 1997. In 1986 she became the President of the Legislative Council - the first woman to be a Presiding Officer of a House of Parliament in Australia. She held various Ministerial positions between 1989-1993, including first ever Minister for the Status of Women in Australia.


Born in Perth, Anne Levy moved to Adelaide at the age of six and has since resided there. She was awarded her Bachelor of Science with Honours in 1957 and her Master of Science in 1963, both from the University of Adelaide. There she worked as a Tutor and Senior Tutor in Genetics from 1960-1975.

Levy was elected Member of the Legislative Council of the Parliament of South Australia in 1975. She was re-elected in 1982 and 1989. She served on many Parliamentary Committees, including the Industries Development Committee (of which she was Chair) 1983-85, and the Statutory Authorities Committee, 1994-97. She was elected President of the Legislative Council, 1986-88. From 1989-1993 she served with the Bannon and later Arnold Governments as Minister for the Arts, Minister of Local Government, Minister of State Supply, Minister of Consumer Affairs, and Minister for the Status of Women. She retired in 1997.

Levy was also a Member of the Council of the University of Adelaide, 1975-96; Patron of the Humanist Society, and 1986 Australian Humanist of the Year; Member of the Abortion Law Repeal Association, 1969 onwards; Founding member of the Family Planning Association, 1972-84; Patron of Supporting Mothers Association (SA); Founding and life member of the National Foundation of Australian Women (Board member 1993-95 and President 1996-99); Honorary Life Member of the Women's Electoral Lobby; Elected member of the Management Committee of the Women's Legal Service (SA); and Founding member of Emily's List (Australia).

Levy worked primarily in areas of homosexual law reform, abortion law reform, euthnasia, rape law reform, childcare, maternity leave, equality in education for girls, equal pay and affirmative action. She married Keith Barley in 1956 and the pair had two children, Mathew (born 1959) and Rachel (born 1962).

Archival resources

National Archives of Australia, Adelaide Office

  • Anne Levy's parliamentary papers; National Archives of Australia, Adelaide Office. Details

Elle Morrell

Site-wide information and acknowledgements

National Foundation for Australian Women The University of Melbourne, eScholarship Research Centre

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ISSN 2207-3124