News State ACT News History made: women rule in ACT parliament

History made: women rule in ACT parliament

Before entering the Assembly, Canberra Liberals MLA Elizabeth Lee taught law and aerobics. Photo: ABC
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For the first time in the ACT’s history, the majority of politicians elected to the Legislative Assembly are women.

On Saturday the final votes from the poll on October 15 were tallied and the makeup of the expanded 25-seat Assembly was confirmed.

The final results revealed 52 per cent of the ACT’s politicians, or 13 out of 25, were women.

With an additional eight MLAs being elected there was always going to be some fresh faces, but the final tally showed 12 new members – 11 of which are first-time MLAs.

The ages of the new-comers range from 25 to 68 and their backgrounds are just as varied — from soldier, to radio announcer, postman and graphic designer.

In the new Assembly 13 out of the ACT's 25 politicians are women. Photo: ABC
In the new Assembly 13 out of the ACT’s 25 politicians are women. Photo: ABC

ABC News Canberra spoke to a new member from Labor, the Liberals and the Greens, who are all promising to show a lot of passion and energy.

Liberal MLA Elizabeth Lee is a law lecturer during the week but on weekends leads a very different class: aerobics at her local gym.

She said soon she would become the student in what she called “pollie preschool”.

“I assume it’s going to be a lot of Powerpoints and a lot of passing notes to each other, so it’ll be interesting to see how that goes,” she said.

Ms Lee was born in Korea and her family moved to western Sydney when she seven years old.

While she has run for office in Canberra twice before, her 2016 campaign was the most visible, with her corflutes lining the city’s roadsides.

“Some people assumed that I had heaps of family here but that’s actually not true,” she said.

I’ve been very fortunate to get the support from a wide range of places… [including] a lot of the members of the Korean community.

“I’m very grateful for that.”

Ms Lee said she had mixed feelings about her career change and she hoped her move from academia to politics was worth it.

“It is very popular to Canberra-bash by all Australians and I want to be able to do my part in showcasing Canberra to the world,” she said.

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