Lara Giddings

Premier of Tasmania
Tasmania: island of change
Wednesday, 20 February 2013
Arrive from 11.30am, lunch 12 noon, speaker 12.30 concludes 1.30pm
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Lara Giddings was first elected to the Tasmanian Parliament in 1996. At the age of 23, she was the youngest woman ever elected to an Australian Parliament.

After losing her House of Assembly seat in the electorate of Lyons in 1998, Lara was re-elected to the seat of Franklin in 2002. In March 2004 she was elevated to the front bench as Minister for Economic Development and the Arts. In April 2006 Lara became Minister for Health and Human Services.

In 2008 Lara was promoted to the position of Deputy Premier under incoming Premier David Bartlett, and also became Attorney General and Minister for Justice. In January 2011 Lara became Tasmania’s 44th Premier, the first female to hold the position, after the resignation of Premier Bartlett for family reasons.

Larissa Tahireh Giddings was born in Goroka in Papua New Guinea in November 1972, just before the election of the Whitlam Labor Government in December of that year. It was the dismissal of Gough Whitlam by the Governor General just before Lara’s third birthday in 1975 that first made her aware of politics, when she realised how upset her Labor supporting mother was.

On her mother’s side, Lara’s connection to Tasmania dates back to 1830 with the arrival of free settlers who settled in the Midlands. Another branch of the family lived in Launceston after arriving in 1881.

The Giddings family resumed the Tasmanian connection in 1986 when they returned from PNG, and Lara relocated permanently in 1990 after completing high school in Melbourne. She studied Arts and Law at the University of Tasmania.

Attracted by Labor’s objectives – bringing better standards of living, greater opportunities for education and health care, and lending a helping hand to people in need – Lara first joined the ALP in 1990. She is a founding member of Emily’s List, an organisation that provides financial and mentoring support to progressive Labor women candidates across Australia.

After losing her parliamentary seat in 1998 Lara spent a year working in the United Kingdom before returning to campaign for re-election to the House of Assembly in 2002.

In April 2010, then Premier David Bartlett and Greens Leader Nick McKim negotiated a cooperative arrangement to form government following the March 2010 State Election.