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Pauline Shelley

Tasmanian Honour Roll of Women logo
Pauline Shelley

Awarded for service to the Community

Born: 1946

Entered on roll: 2013


An astute grasp of complex situations.

Pauline Shelley was the first female directly appointed as Tasmanian Industrial Commissioner in 2000 and was elevated to Deputy President of the Commission in 2004 before retiring in 2010.

When hearing industrial matters, Pauline had a reputation for being facilitative; ensuring inexperienced advocates were afforded any guidance needed.

Pauline, born 14 April 1946, was a long-time advocate for Tasmanian working women - taking pioneering roles in the trade union movement, developing the childcare industry and improving conditions and recognition of women in workplaces.

Her first job in Tasmania was as a Hobart Women's Shelter crisis worker, Pauline went on to establish the Kingborough Family Day Care, in 1983 to provide an alternative, childcare option and to provide women with home-based employment.

As Kingborough Family Day Care coordinator, Pauline became an active unionist with the Municipal Officers' Association and an organiser for the Miscellaneous Workers' Union in 1988.

Pauline knew women's work was not properly valued and rewarded and a truly significant achievement was the establishment of a childcare industry award that included a formal and recognised career path for childcare workers.

Conditions for childcare workers and children improved while Pauline chaired the Child Care Division, Tasmanian Community Services and Health Industry Training Advisory Board. Pauline was also a member of the Early Childhood Association and the Childcare Standards Advisory Committee. She was also Deputy President of the Tasmanian Association of Children's Services and was the inaugural recipient of their award for outstanding contribution in 1992.

Pauline was President and Secretary of the Miscellaneous Workers' Division from 1996 and President of the Amalgamated Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers' Union (now United Voice) from 1998, representing some of the most vulnerable and low paid workers, including women with casual, part-time or contract work in sectors such as childcare and cleaning.

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