Ruby Hutchison – consumer and social justice pioneer

Pic from Choice website

Ruby Hutchison (1892-1974) was a firebrand West Australian politician and community activist, who was very active in the early stages of the Australian Consumers Association (now Choice)

An extract from the Australian Dictionary of biography follows:

Throughout her parliamentary career (1954-1971) Mrs Hutchison pursued a variety of causes, including the right of women to serve on juries, as well as child-welfare, education and housing issues. …  In October 1962 she was the second woman member ever to be suspended (Dame Florence Cardell-Oliver was the first) from either House of the Western Australian parliament, after refusing to withdraw her remark that she was ashamed to be a member of such an undemocratic chamber. …Hutchison supported the ideal that governments should be constituted of an equal proportion of men and women.

An active community worker, she was founder (1962) and president of the Western Australian Epilepsy Association, and an inaugural member (1959) of the State branch of the Australian Consumers Association. She was also involved in the Girl Guides, and was founder and first chairman [person] of the women’s auxiliary of the State’s Boy Scouts’ Association. Tall and bespectacled, she was a well-groomed woman who usually dressed in neutral colours.

Seen by F. J. S. Wise, her leader in the Council, as rebellious and as having an overwhelming enthusiasm for her beliefs, she was a fiery speaker and a tenacious crusader for democratic reform, women’s rights and social justice.

For further information see

and read the most recent Ruby Hutchison Memorial lecture, given by Ross Gittins in 2011.


About Jane Elix

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