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Janine Haines AM

In 1986, Janine Haines became the first Australian woman to lead a political party.

Honour Roll

Janine Haines was born on 8 May 1945, in Tanunda, South Australia and educated at a number of schools in the country before completing a teaching diploma at Adelaide Teachers' College and a Bachelor of Arts at Adelaide University majoring in English and History. She began teaching in 1966 and got married in 1967. During the following decade she had two children and continued to teach while developing an interest in politics.

Janine arrived in politics via a strange route when she was chosen to fill a Senate casual vacancy, replacing the retiring Liberal senator, Steele Hall. In 1977, she became the first Australian Democrat appointed to Federal Parliament. She was committed to promoting women's issues, tax reform and education. She had to battle male prejudice both from within her own party and outside of it.

When Senator Don Chipp retired from politics in 1986 it was thought that the Democrats could possibly be finished. However, when Janine was elected to replace him she managed to increase support for the Party, especially appealing to women voters. By 1988, she was the most popular Australian political leader and had survived attacks from Democrat Senators John Siddons and David Vigor who subsequently left the party.

In 1989, Janine decided to 'go for broke' and contest the lower house seat of Kingston. Although she put up a good fight she was defeated and gave up her seat in the Senate as she had promised. Many believe that if she had contested the Liberal seat of Mayo, rather than the marginal seat of Kingston, she would have been successful and entered the House of Representatives.

In 1990, Senator Janet Powell became the new Federal Leader of the Party. In 1992, Janine published a book, Suffrage to Sufferance: 100 Years of Women in Politics.