Tennis star Ash Barty and former premier Carmen Lawrence among those awarded Queen’s Birthday Honours

The 1990s in West Australian politics was “an exciting early indication of women’s capacity” in public life, Australia’s first female state premier says.

Carmen Lawrence was WA premier from 1990-1993 and led a government with several women in cabinet positions. She also held a ministerial position in the Keating government.

“When I became premier of Western Australia… that was an important achievement for women collectively,” Dr Lawrence said.

Dr Lawrence, a professor emeritus and senior honorary research fellow at the University of WA’s School of Psychological Sciences, has been recognised in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours list as an Officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia (AO) for distinguished service to the people and parliaments of Australia and WA, to conservation, and to arts administration.

Dr Lawrence said the make-up of the new federal parliament showed “the idea that you can be represented by someone who’s not like you is gone”.

“Ours is a representative democracy which means we need all the groups in our society to be represented,” she said.

“It’s a matter of justice, first of all, that’s what democracy’s all about, but it also means we get a richer view of the experience that Australians are having, and therefore policy will be better.”

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