So Many Firsts tells the story of the Liberal Party’s women in the federal parliament, especially its seven female Cabinet ministers. It establishes the long list of ‘firsts’ they achieved as women, for women, and for the wider community. The diversity in the backgrounds of the Liberal women who became ministers is striking - they were: housewives, lawyers, accountants, small business owners, academics, doctors, farmers, real estate agents, journalists, nurses, tourism operators, public servants, company directors, married women with large families and single women with none. They came from the city and the country and from every state in Australia. They were those from political families and others who were the first in their families to enter public life.
So Many Firsts is also a story about contemporary politics and government in Australia. It examines the past and how it informs the Liberal Party’s present, and provides an inside account of various Liberal governments in the words of the women who were there.
So Many Firsts is also a book about policies and the debates that surrounded them, like child endowment, divorce law reform, childcare, family assistance and women’s health and the particularly difficult debate over affirmative action legislation.