Elizabeth Ann Symonds - Australian Labor Party (1975 – 1977)

“Well-behaved women rarely make history.”
-Death notice, The Sydney Morning Herald. 21 November 2018

Elizabeth Ann Symonds was born in Murwillumbah. She later studied at the Armidale Teacher’s College and University of New South Wales. While teaching at Bronte Primary she would meet and marry Maurie Symonds, another teacher.

She joined the Labor party in 1969, was elected to Waverley Council in 1975 and was the Deputy Mayor of Waverley Council from 1976-77 making her the first female deputy of Waverley. She was very much involved in many layers of Government including being an Upper House Labor MP. She was a Member Ministerial Advisory Committee Family and Children Services Agency from 1976- 1982; Board of Bondi Pavilion Theatre from 1974-1977; International Year of the Child, National Committee of Non-Government organisations from 1978-1980; Waverley Child Care Committees; Waverley Group Homes Committee; Member Residential and Alternate Care Committee in 1980. Chairperson Women & Homelessness Inquiry in 1983. Other roles include the Deputy Chairperson Ministerial Advisory Committee on Women on Womens Housing from 1984-1988. Deputy Chairperson Women in Prison Task Force from 1984-1985; founding member National Foundation for Australian Women in 1989; founding member Australian Parliamentary Group for Drug Law Reform in 1993 and Vice-President Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation in 1994. She was a vocal advocate for gun reform and wrote a paper to the Labor party argueing against the firm-held belief in the party that Labor had lost the 1988 election because of the campaign promise to tighten gun laws.

Ann held her seat in the NSW Legislative Council until 1998 when she resigned. The subsequent vacancy was filled by Carmel Tebbutt. Recreational interests include music, reading and theatre. In 2015 Ann was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for significant service to social justice, particularly through drug law reform, and to the Parliament of New South Wales.

Elizabeth had 3 daughters and 2 sons. One of her daughters, Meredith, followed her mothers footsteps to become a Waverley Councillor.

Elizabeth passed away 15 November 2018.