The federal government will commission sculptures of former Australian parliamentarians Neville Bonner, Enid Lyons and Dorothy Tangney to be situated in Canberra’s National Triangle by the end of 2022.
The prime minister said that the three parliamentarians rightly deserved the honour as the first elected Indigenous Australian and first elected women.
The three historically significant Australians were born around the turn of the century as a fledgling nation and its federal government was also coming into its own.
Bonner, a Jagera elder, was born in northern NSW in 1922. He filled a casual vacancy as Queensland senator and later became the first Indigenous Australian to be elected to the parliament by popular vote.
Tasmanian politician Enid Lyons was the first woman elected to the federal House of Representatives and the first woman to serve in the Australian cabinet. She was married to Joseph Lyons who served as Australia’s prime minister from 1932-39 and the premier of Tasmania from 1923-28.
Tangney was born in 1907 and was the first woman to be elected to the senate, and WA’s first female senator from 1943-68.
In a joint statement with Nola Marino, assistant minister for regional development and territories, Scott Morrison said Lyons, Tangney and Bonner paved the path for others to follow in Australian politics.
“It’s important we never forget those who shaped our history so that ours and future generations are always reminded of the sacrifices they made and the courage they showed,” Morrison said.
The government will spend $1.25 million for the sculptures to be created and erected in the National Triangle, near Old Parliament House in Canberra. Sculptures of other prominent Australians are situated in the same green reserve.
Marino said family members and descendants of Bonner, Lyons and Taney would be consulted with by the National Capital Authority concerning the development of the sculptures.
“The contributions of these three remarkable individuals will be immortalised for everyone to see,” Marino said.