Senator Marise Payne becomes longest-serving female Senator

Local Senator and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, has become the longest-serving female Senator in Australian history.

Senator Payne achieved the milestone having now served in the Senate for over 24 years and overtaking the record set by West Australian Senator Dame ​​Dorothy Tangney, who was first elected in 1943.

Senator Payne was appointed to the Senate in 1997, aged 32, six years after her first attempt to get elected. In 2015, Senator Payne became the first woman to be appointed as Minister for Defence.

In her first speech as Defence Minister, Senator Payne said she wanted to be judged on her  performance, not her gender.

Reflecting on her parliamentary career, Senator Payne encouraged more women and girls to consider public service.

“Politics needs women of all backgrounds and political views,” Senator Payne said.

“It doesn’t matter which party you join or no party at all: I will always encourage as many women and girls as possible to get involved.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison congratulated Senator Payne on her milestone in Parliament. 

“This is an extraordinary achievement and I think it is an enormous encouragement to all women of this country and young girls in this country,” the Prime Minister said.

Under Senator Payne’s leadership, there are now more women in Cabinet than at any time in Australia’s history. 

In 2021, Marise delivered $1.1 billion for women’s safety, the largest single Commonwealth investment in women’s safety in a federal budget.

As Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Payne attended the first ever leaders-level Quad between Australia, the United States, India and Japan, and worked to establish the creation of an enhanced trilateral security partnership known as AUKUS, which significantly deepens cooperation on a range of emerging security and defence capabilities.

Senator Payne has spent the entirety of her Senate career based at Parramatta, the gateway to Western Sydney, and lives in Mulgoa, south of Penrith.