New sculptures to honour first women and Indigenous Australian elected to Parliament

Three Australian Parliamentary trailblazers are set to be honoured by the Morrison Government in two new sculptures.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the first two women elected to federal Parliament and the first Indigenous Australian to take his place in Parliament will be honoured within Canberra’s National Triangle near Old Parliament House.

“Enid Lyons, Dorothy Tangney and Neville Bonner laid the path for those who have followed and they rightly deserve our recognition,” the Prime Minister said.

“It’s important we never forget those who shaped our history so that ours and future generations are always reminded of the sacrifices they made and the courage they showed.”

Assistant Minister for Regional Development and Territories Nola Marino said the Morrison Government had set aside $1.25 million for the two new sculptures.

“These statues will join those of other prominent Australians in the National Triangle as we honour their important legacy,” Assistant Minister Marino said.

“The National Capital Authority will work closely with their descendants and family members in developing each sculpture and I hope we can see them completed in 2022.

“The contributions of these three remarkable individuals will be immortalised for everyone to see.”

Enid Lyons, born in 1897 in Smithton, Tasmania, was the first woman elected to the House of Representatives and the first woman to serve in Federal Cabinet. Prior to her own political career, she was best known as the wife of Joseph Lyons, who was Prime Minister of Australia (1932–1939) and Premier of Tasmania (1923–1928). Enid Lyons and Senator Dorothy Tangney became the first two women elected to Federal Parliament.

Dorothy Tangney was born in Perth, Western Australia in 1907 and served as the first woman elected to the Senate 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.

Neville Bonner was an elder of the Jagera people born in 1922 in northern NSW. He was appointed by the Queensland Parliament to fill a casual vacancy in the representation of Queensland in the Senate, and later became the first Indigenous Australian to be elected to the parliament by popular vote.