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When marriage went underground – The Marriage Bar and its removal in Australia

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Date: 28 November 2016

An important anniversary for Australian women slipped by relatively unheralded earlier this month. November 18 marked 50 years since the federal government, led by Harold Holt, decreed that it would be legal for married women to work in the public service.

Inherited from Britain, where Clement Atlee removed it in the immediate postwar period, the ‘marriage bar’ that prevented married women from working in the public service remained the law in Australia for two extra decades. ALP Senator Bill Heydon instigated formal proceedings to amend the law in August of 1966 when he introduced legislation as a private members bill in the Senate.

See more about how it happened in this article by Annabel Crabb.

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