The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP
The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP

Media Release

FA110a - 8 September 2005

Dame Nancy Buttfield

I note with sadness the death of Dame Nancy Buttfield, the first South Australian woman to serve in the Australian Federal Parliament.

Dame Nancy was a woman I knew well and admired. She died last weekend at the age of 92.

She served as a Liberal Senator for South Australia from 1955 through to 1974.

Dame Nancy was a tireless advocate for the interests of her home State and a woman who served her State and the Liberal Party with dignity, dedication and a great sense of public duty.

Born into the famous Holden family, Dame Nancy was an early advocate for women's rights. She lobbied fervently for equal pay for women and the ending of the marriage bar for women in the public service.

With the encouragement of Prime Minister Sir Robert Menzies, Dame Nancy also demonstrated her feisty approach, breaking down long-established barriers in Old Parliament House by becoming the first woman to drink at the previously male-only Members Bar.

After politics, Dame Nancy continued her service to the public by involving herself in a variety of arts and charity work, with a particular focus on helping young people.

I extend my condolences to Dame Nancy's two sons and five grandchildren.

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