Important Firsts Of Queensland Electoral & Parliamentary History

Today the electorates and parliament in Queensland are important aspects of its governance. Since the first elections in 1860, the state has witnessed the occurrence of several events that changed history and led to the governance and elections in modern times. Let’s explore the important firsts of Queensland’s electoral and parliamentary history.


  • The first sitting in the new parliament house happened on 4th August 1868 after Sir Bowen had laid its foundation in 1865.
  • In 1871, the first proposals for women’s suffrage appeared in the state. It happened after Sir Charles Lilley, Leader of the Opposition at the time, suggested women have the right to vote.
  • 19 years after the first reference to the issue, Queensland Women’s Suffrage League was incorporated in 1889.
  • Via the Commonwealth Franchise Act 1902, white women in Queensland were granted the right to vote and stand in the parliamentary elections.
  • It wasn’t until 1915 that all women in the state, including those belonging to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islands were allowed the right to vote.
  • The Australian Federation Enabling Act 1899 (Qld) helped Queensland to join the Federation of Australia in 1899.
  • Using the Electoral Districts Act 1910 (Qld) was divided into 72 electorates for the first time in 1910.
  • 69 years after the first elections in Queensland, the first woman was elected to the state’s parliament.
  • For the first time in 1959, the Asian or African natives who were British subjects were given the right to vote Elections Act Amendment Act 1959 (Qld).
  • In 1965 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders were also enfranchised (given the right to vote) but their enrolment wasn’t compulsory.
  • However, in 1971, enrolment and voting was made mandatory for the indigenous people.
  • It took over 100 years for the first native person to get elected in the Queensland parliament. Eric Deeral, member for Cook was made a member of the body in 1974.
  • In a historic turn of events in 2002, the Parliament of Queensland sat in Townsville for the first time after always assembling in Brisbane. This led to subsequent regional sittings of the parliament in Rockhampton, Cairns, and Mackay.
  • To keep up with the modern world and its digitisation, for the first time, the Queensland Parliament’s petitions were allowed to be sent electronically and called e-petitions.
  • In 2012, Fiona Simpson, a member for Maroochydore became the first female Speaker.
  • After William Armstrong, Peter Wellington (member for Nicklin) was elected the first independent Speaker of the state’s parliament. Armstrong has held the position from 1911 to 1915.
  • The first Torres Strait Islander Cynthia Lui (member for Cook) was elected as a member of the Queensland Parliament in 2017. In addition, in the same year, Stephen Andrew (member for Mirani) was the first South Sea Islander descent elected.


The Bottom Line

What the electorates and Queensland’s parliament are today is the hard work of the state’s people for centuries. Thus, the history is bright with important events that make the people of Queensland what they are today.


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