Women's Groups 2013 - Women’s Advisory Council (WAC)

Women’s Advisory Council (WAC)

Purpose of the group

WAC was the first of several organisations relating to women’s issues established by the newly-elected Labor State Government in 1983. The council’s aim was to provide information about women’s issues directly to the government.

WAC is an independent body which initially reported directly to the Premier and was provided with secretariat support from the Department for Premier and Cabinet. Later, WAC reported to the Women’s Interests Minister.

When first established, WAC’s powers were:

  • reporting and making recommendations, at the Premier’s request, or of its own initiative
  • making public comment on any issues of concern to women and aspects of proposed government legislation that was likely to have an impact upon women
  • setting up sub-committees, working parties or taskforces as necessary, drawing on its own resources, when appropriate, and on resources in government and non-government areas
  • encouraging research into areas of importance to women and recommending, for the Premier’s approval, grants to organisations and individuals to undertake specific projects
  • recommending funding for special projects to the Premier.

WAC’s role has remained fairly consistent and includes consulting with women’s organisations and community members on matters important to women. Information, matters of concern and recommendations are then conveyed to the State Government.

WAC members are now appointed by the Women’s Interests Minister (it was previously done by the Premier) and they represent a range of women from metropolitan and regional areas who have experience on boards and committees or experience in community organisations.

Time period

WAC was first announced on 17 September 1983. In 2007, the Women’s Advisory Network of WA was established with a similar role to WAC. The new WAC was established in December 2009 and continues to function.

Key achievements

In 1985, WAC identified women’s health as its major priority and actively supported the development of a Women’s Health Unit in the Health Department, established in 1987.

The council undertook a research project into the impact of technology on the lives of women. Media images were also targeted during 1986 and seminars were held as part of the National Agenda for Women consultation process.

The needs of indigenous Australian women were prioritised by WAC in 1988 and a women’s summit was held.

WAC undertook many projects and produced publications including From Work to Employment in 1988 and Breaking the Silence about Abortion in mid-1993.

Key people and positions in the group

  • The first WAC included president Dorothy Goodrick. Daphne Baldwin, Helen Cattalini, Betty Connell, Helen Errington, Kath French, Rosemary Hannon, Anne-Marie Heine, Pauline Hutchinson, Gillian Kaub, Dr Gwen Leavesley, Ruth Moir, Liza Newby, Janet Pine, Pat Ryan, Roslyn Shea, Judith Siddins, Diana Warnock and Joan Winch.
  • Other presidents include Janet Pine, Lyn Amore, Leonie Still and Elizabeth Conti.
  • Current (2013) members include chair Maria Saraceni, Agnes Vacca, Karen Strange, Lesley Cala, Lily Chen, Rosemary Waldron-Hartfield, Amanda Lovitt, Rowena Barrett, Holly Ransom, Fiona Lander, Cheryl Thomas, Philippa Page and Annette Chivers.


Women’s Information, Women’s Power: A brief history of the Western Australian Women’s Information Referral Exchange. Available from the State Library of WA (call number 353.535.WOM).

Article Index
Women's Groups 2013
Abortion Law Repeal Association/Association for the Legal Right to Abortion (ALRA)
American Women's Club of Perth (AWC)
Association of Civilian Widows of WA Inc
Australian College of Midwives WA Branch (ACM)
Australian Local Government Women’s Association (ALGWA)
Beta Sigma Phi
Business and Professional Women Western Australia (BPW)
Catholic Women’s League of Western Australia (Inc)
Chrysalis House Women's Refuge
Cine-Matrix: Women in Film and Television WA
Cockburn Women’s Peace Camp
Combined Equal Pay Committee/WA Council for Equal Pay and Opportunity
Community Midwifery WA
Country Women’s Association (CWA)
Domestic Violence Action Group (Geraldton)
Emily’s List
Equal Opportunity Law Reform Coalition
Fremantle Women’s Health Centre (FWHC)
Girl Guides WA
Graduate Women Western Australia (GWWA)/Australian Federation of University Women (AFUW) Western Australia
Grapevine/Perth Wimmin’s Collective
Gretel Club of Perth (Inc)
Harvest Guild
Incest Survivors Association (Inc.)
Inner Wheel Australia
Inside Out Project
Ishar Multicultural Women’s Health Centre
Kalgoorlie Auxiliary of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Karrakatta Club
Labor Women’s Association
Lespar Library
Living Child Inc.—Safe Village Births
Lutheran Women WA
Marninwarntikura Fitzroy Women’s Resource Centre
Mining Mums
Modern Women's Club
Mothers’ Union Australia
Movement for the Ordination of Women
Muslim Women’s Support Centre of WA (Inc)
National Council of Women of Western Australia (previously known as West Australian National Council of Women and Western Australian National Council of Women)
National Council of Jewish Women of Australia—WA section (NCJWA)
Nintirri Centre
Older Women’s Network (OWN WA)
Penguin Club
Perth Ionian Club
Polyhymnia Reading Group
Rape Crisis Line
Rural Remote Regional Women’s Network (RRR)
Sexual Assault Resource Centre (SARC)
Sibyl/University of Western Australia Student Guild Women’s Collective
Society of Women Writers WA
Soroptimist International of Western Australia
Starick Services Inc
Status of Women Committee WA—Australian Labor Party
Tradeswomen on the Move
UN Women Australia (formerly UNIFEM Australia)—Perth Chapter Young UN Women Perth Chapter
Union of Australian Women—WA Branch
V.I.E.W. Western Australia
West Australian Women’s Society of Fine Arts and Crafts
War Widows’ Guild
Warrawee Women’s Refuge
Women’s Electoral Lobby (WEL)
West Australian Housewives’ Association (Inc)
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)
Women in Media
Women’s Information Referral Exchange (WIRE)
Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) of Western Australia
Women in Education Coalition
Women in Mining WA (WIMWA)
Women in Sailing (WIS)
Women in Sport Committee of the Western Australian Sports Council
Women in Technology WA (Inc) (WiTWA)
Women Lawyers of Western Australia (Inc) (WLWA)
Women with Disabilities WA Inc (WWDWA)
Women’s Action Alliance (WAA)
Women’s Advisory Council (WAC)
Women’s Broadcasting Cooperative
Women’s Committee of State School Teachers’ Union WA Executive
Women's Committee of the Waterside Workers Federation
Women’s Council for Domestic and Family Violence Services (WA)/Women’s Refuge Group of WA (WRG)
Women’s Health and Family Services/Women’s Health Care House/Perth Women’s Centre/Women’s Health Service
Women’s Information Service (WIS)
Women’s Interest Network
Women in Engineering WA (WIE WA)
Women’s International Zionist Organisation (WIZO)
Women’s Liberation
Women’s Service Guilds
Women’s Studies Group
Yanay Yanma
YWCA of Perth
Zonta International
Additional Groups
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