On the 29th of September 1995, Jennie George became the first woman to be elected as President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions.
After migrating to Australia from Italy, Jennie grew up in the Surrey Hills Housing Commission in Sydney, and won a scholarship to the Teachers’ College.
She first got active with the New South Wales Teachers’ Federation as an associate member of the Trainee Teachers’ Club.
After teaching for a number of years at the Bankstown Girls’ High School, Jennie became the Teachers Federation’s Welfare Officer in 1973.
In 1979, she was elected to serve as General Secretary of the Federation – the first woman in this role.
Hers was a career of firsts.
In 1983, she was the first woman elected to the ACTU’s national executive.
Four years later, she became a Vice President of the ACTU.
At this time, Jennie served as the Teachers Federation’s President – the first woman in the role.
In 1991 she became the ACTU’s first Women’s Officer, as well as Assistant Secretary.
After being elected as ACTU President, Jennie was integral to the trade union leadership that had to grapple with the difficulties of representing working people in the Howard era.
After her time with the ACTU, George was elected to the NSW Federal Seat of Throsby in 2001, serving her constituency for nine years.
Today we celebrate the milestone Jennie set – a proud moment for our movement.