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Members’ biographical register

Mrs Elsie (Kay) Kay Hallahan

Principal Honours
Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) awarded 10 June 2002 for service to the community, particularly as an advocate for the needs of children, women and the elderly, in matters of social justice, and to the Parliament of Western Australia
Awarded Centenary of Federation Medal 2003
Awarded Hon Doc Litt Curtin University February 2003
Date: 4 November 1941
Place: Perth, Western Australia
Arrival in WA
Daughter of Eric Stanley Downing, timber worker and Jessie Elsie Fullarton
Marriage and Family
Married 27 May 1972, Eling, Hampshire, England to Pat Hallahan, school teacher, son of Eric Stanley Hallahan
No children
Cause of Death:
Not stated
Educated Tullis and Muchea Primary Schools, Bullsbrook District High School and Perth Girls High School
Western Australian Institute of Technology, Bachelor of Social Work 1980
Social worker
Employment History
Calculator operator 1959–1969
Police constable, Western Australian Police Force 1969–1972
Social work student 1977–1980
Real estate salesperson 1979–1980
Social worker Lockridge Community Health Centre, Melville Rehabilitation Centre, Alcohol and Drug Authority 1981–May 1983
Local Government Service
Joined Australian Labor Party 1976
President Darling Range branch
Delegate and office bearer Canning Electorate Council
Member State Executive
Convenor Australian Labor Party Women’s campaign, 1986 election
Member Australian Labor Party National Executive
Date Elected
22 May 1983
Inaugural Speech
Inaugural Video
No inaugural video is available as filming did not start until May 2003
Search for speeches by Kay Hallahan
Valedictory Speech
Year Retired/Resigned
Parliamentary Service

  • MLC South-East Metropolitan Province 22 May 1983–21 May 1989; East Metropolitan Region 22 May 1989–13 January 1993 (resigned)
  • MLA Armadale 6 February 1993–14 December 1996
  • Contested Kalamunda 23 February 1980
  • Minister for Community Services, The Family, Youth, The Aged (from 26 February 1986); Multicultural and Ethnic Affairs (until 25 July 1986) and Minister Assisting the Minister for Women’s Interests 26 February 1986–28 February 1989
  • Minister for Local Government, Lands, The Family, The Aged, and Minister Assisting the Minister for Women’s Interests 28 February 1989–19 February 1990
  • Minister for Planning, Lands, Heritage, The Arts 30 April 1990
  • Minister and Minister Assisting the Minister for Women’s Interests (until 30 April 1990) 19 February 1990–5 February 1991
  • Minister for Education, Employment and Training (Employment until 7 September 1992)
  • Minister for The Arts 5 February 1991–16 February 1993
  • Deputy Leader of the Government in the Legislative Council 16 March 1987–16 February 1993
  • Shadow Minister for Education and Training, Arts and Media 17 February 1993–7 February 1994
  • Shadow Minister for Federal Affairs, Tourism, and Racing and Gaming 7 February 1994–18 October 1994
  • Deputy Leader of the Opposition 7 February 1994–12 October 1994
  • Shadow Minister for Tourism, Transport and Racing and Gaming (from 18 March 1996) 18 October 1994–14 May 1996

  • Member Joint House Committee 1983–1986
  • Member Standing Committee on Government Agencies 1983–15 October 1985
  • Member Select Committee on the Fruit and Vegetable Industry in WA 12 October–20 December 1983
  • Member Select Committee on Aboriginal Poverty in WA 29 May 1984–26 November 1985
  • Member Select Committee on Heavy Transport 27 September 1994–13 November 1996
Historical Notes
  • First woman Cabinet Minister from the Legislative Council
  • First woman to sit in both Houses of the WA Parliament

  • Contested Canning (House of Representatives) 9 October 2004
Private Member's Bills
Life member Club Fiumano e Giuliano
Life member Araluen Botanic Park Foundation
Life member Save the Children Australia (2004); after leaving Parliament
Member State Board Save the Children Fund 1997
Chair National Board Save the Children Fund October 1998–2004
Member Board International Save the Children Alliance 2003–2004
Chair State Advisory Committee, Supported Accommodation Assistance Program 2005–2009
Chair WA Council on Homelessness 2010
Member Board and Board Chair Positive Ageing Foundation of Australia
Member Araluen Botanic Park Foundation Council
Deputy Chair Armadale Redevelopment Authority Board 2002–2010
Telethon Trustee from 2008
Member Council Parkerville Children and Youth Care Inc from 2008
Chair Board Dreamfit Foundation from 2008
Member Board Seniors Recreation Council 2005–2009
Member Board Australian Technical College, Perth South 2006–2010
Member Inquiry into Response by Government Agencies into Allegations of Family Violence and Child Abuse in Aboriginal Communities
Chair Child Death Review Committee 2002–2004
Justice of the Peace
Member Alumni Association of Curtin
Member Thornlie Football and Sportsmen’s Club
Patron community organisations including Starick Services (for women’s refuges) from 1998, and Dale Cottages Care Foundation (aged persons village) from 2001
Patron Habitat for Humanity WA from 2008
Advocate Alliance for Children at Risk from 2006
Squad Patron Western Australian Police Academy 2005 and 2008
Bachelor of Social Work 1980
Black, David (1936). Biographical register of members of the Parliament of Western Australia, Volume two, 1930 - 2010, p107.
Further Information
Council of Social Services News, June 1986.
Making a Difference, p. 132–136.
Sunday Times, 18 February 1990.
West Australian, 5 March 1986
Western Mail, 1 March 1986
Chapter 18. Kay Hallahan Making a Difference.pdf
Hallahan, Elsie Kay, Oral History.pdfHallahan, Elsie Kay, Oral History.pdf