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Margaret Anne Sing

Tasmanian Honour Roll of Women logo
Margaret Anne Sing

Awarded for service to Human Rights

Born: 14 July 1946

Entered on roll: 2008

Margaret Sing (formerly Thurstans) was born in Launceston. Margaret has provided leadership and been a trailblazer for women and the status of women across a broad range of fields throughout her career, which has included secondary teaching, trade unionism, vocational education and training, public sector policy and management, and local government.

Margaret was the first Equal Employment Opportunity Officer for State Government Employment, from December 1977 until January 1982. During her tenure there was a significant increase in the recruitment and promotion of women, improvements in the employment levels and conditions for Aboriginal people and people with a disability, introduction of permanent part-time work, and policies and procedures in relation to sexual harassment. Margaret was also involved in the development of the first Anti-Discrimination Bill and was a member of the group that wrote the first Women in TAFE report.

In 1982, Margaret became one of the first female industrial officers at the then Tasmanian Public Service Association (now the Community and Public Sector Union), rising to become the first female Senior Industrial Officer from late 1982 until July 1986. She set up and convened the Women’s Committee, Repetitive Strain Injury Support Group, and organised a range of awareness raising activities for women members.

Margaret became the first Equal Opportunity Officer at the University of Tasmania from 1986 until 1989. In that time she was a part of the working group for the establishment of a women’s studies course at the University. She also worked on the introduction of policies and procedures in relation to harassment, and activities to improve the participation of women in economics, science and engineering.

Through the 1970s and 1980s, Margaret became a well recognised public speaker on issues related to women and equal opportunity. She ran for election in the Hobart City Council elections in 1974 and in the State elections in the electorate of Denison in 1976, with the campaign slogan ‘Give a Woman a Go!’ Margaret polled well in both elections and encouraged female candidates to run in subsequent elections.

From the early 1970s, Margaret was actively involved in a wide range of volunteer women’s and community activities, including the Women’s Electoral Lobby (WEL), where she held the positions of Convenor, Publicity Officer, and Convenor of the Girls in Education Committee. At this time she was also involved in the establishment of the first women’s shelter and saving the Female Factory.

Margaret was also actively involved in the Australian Women’s Education Coalition (AWEC), including time as the Convenor, and in other groups such as the Child Health Association and the Hobart Consumer’s Group (HCG).

While working as the Senior Private Secretary to Fran Bladel, then Minister Assisting the Premier on the Status of Women, Margaret was Chair of the Working Party on Equal Opportunity Legislation and assisted with the development of the legislation introduced at that time.

Margaret retired from the position of Director, Local Government Division, Department of Premier and Cabinet in 2008.

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