Norma Jones

Interviewed by
Sue Yarrow
Dec 13 2012
Norma Jones
Time Summary Keywords

Sue Yarrow introduces Norma Jones outlining her work history and political involvement.


Norma Jones speaks about her early life, attending Kedron Park Teacher's College, participating in a protest against the visit of United States President, Lyndon Baines Johnson. She outlines her teaching in Toowoomba and recalls that the Darling Downs Institute of Advanced  Education was newly established in Toowoomba and played a part in politicisation of the city's young people. She characterises Toowoomba as a very conservative city.

Darling Downs, protest, Toowoomba, Toowoomba City Council

Norma Jones remembers some of the protests about the Vietnam War. She recalls the election of the Whitlam Government in 1972, the new focus on women's politics and the rallies held supporting the Campaign Against Nuclear Power. She recalls issues surrounding (Clive) Berghofer, a Toowoomba land developer, Councillor and later a National Party MP.

Clive Berghofer, protest, Vietnam War, Whitlam Government 1972-75, women

Norma Jones remembers that the two ALP state MPs for Toowoomba region were Peter Wood and Ray Bowsen. She discusses the impact of the Whitlam government in polarising the Toowoomba community. She recalls a meeting featuring Barbara Wertheim where the National Party brought in bus loads of conservative country women reported by the Toowoomba Chronicle. She recalls the Right to Life being very active in Toowoomba.

Barbara Wertheim, Peter Wood, Ray Bousen, Right to Life, Toowoomba

Norma Jones remembers the Women's Conference held in Canberra in International Women's Year in 1975 and the impact of the report-back session held in Toowoomba attended by over 200 people, some of whom became very active around women issues and anti-war activity.

International Women's Year, 1975, Toowoomba, Vietnam War, women

Norma Jones recalls that ALP representation for Toowoomba was wiped out in the 1974 election when both Wood and Bousen lost office and the debate within the party about how to retrieve the situation.

1974 election, Peter Wood, Ray Bousen, Toowoomba

Norma Jones discusses the ALP in Toowoomba with some members becoming involved in Brisbane activities such as the Labor Women's Organisation. She discusses the feeling that the party needed to move along with social attitudes and the leaders needed to be open to new ideas. 

Toowoomba, women

Norma Jones discusses the ALP leadership in the 1970s as old men out of touch. 


Norma Jones outlines being elected President of the South Toowoomba Branch of the ALP in 1976, a story featured in the Toowoomba Chronicle.


Norma Jones recalls people starting to divide at the South Toowoomba Branch of the ALP over issues like fund raising.


Norma Jones discusses Council elections in provincial towns, where no ALP ticket is used. She remembers the activities of a conservative in bringing the Springboks Rugby Team to Toowoomba in 1971.

Springboks Rugby tour 1971, Toowoomba City Council

Norma Jones discusses the mobilisation in Toowoomba against the Springboks visit and the role of the publican who ran the White Horse Hotel. She discusses the following of the group called 'Ladies in Line against Communism' (Lilac Ladies) mainly from west of Toowoomba including Tara and Chinchilla and the role of Dulcie Willasee, and also the League of Rights in Toowoomba.

Communism, League of Rights, Springboks Rugby tour 1971

Norma Jones discusses being the ALP candidate in Lockyer in the state election in 1977 and attending a public meeting of candidates at Flagstone Creek Hall and the antagonism towards the ALP and herself as a woman candidate.

1977 election, personal vilification, women

Norma Jones discusses issues that diviided ALP branch members in Toowoomba including Ed Casey's leadership, preselection issues, money and the policy on abortion.

abortion, Ed Casey, Toowoomba

Norma Jones discusses the attempt to expel her and her husband, Toowoomba City Councillor Lindsay Jones, from the South Toowoomba Branch of the ALP and the support they received from Senator George Georges.

George Georges, Toowoomba

Norma Jones discusses appearing before the newly formed ALP Disputes Tribunal.

abortion, George Georges, Joe Harris, Peter Beattie

Norma Jones discusses a defamation writ she received at about the same time as her appearance before the ALP Disputes Tribunal.

Ed Casey, poker machines

Norma Jones discusses attending the 1978 Bardon Hall reform meetings held in Brisbane and the ALP links she made there resulting in her becoming a member of the Socialist Left faction.


Norma Jones recalls meetings of the Socialist Left faction prior to the 1979 Rockhampton Conference and relaying discussion and political debate from the conference to the Toowoomba ALP branch.


Norma Jones discusses the impact of the AWU in Toowoomba and the view by the Old Guard that the AWU would help ward off 'the groupers' (their term for the new reforming ALP members).


Jones recalls the ALP Branch contests for the 1977 and 1980 elections and the representation of the unions.

1980 election, Peter Wood, Ray Bousen

Norma Jones reflects on the deregistering of the three Toowoomba ALP branches and explains the history.

David Combe, Manfred Cross, media, Nic Bos, Toowoomba

Norma Jones explains that the reaction of the Toowoomba branch members to the ALP intervention decision.

Denis Murphy, Peter Beattie

Norma Jones outlines how it was easy to get publicity about the ALP intervention in Toowoomba and inform branch members.

media, Toowoomba

Norma Jones discusses the aftermath of the ALP intervention in Toowoomba.


Norma Jones sums up the period saying that an organisation that cannot accept or engineer change when they see what's happening is bound for failure and takes the view that the ALP is at that point again, federally and in New South Wales.


Norma Jones discusses the reactions of the other states, particularly South Australia and Western Australia, to intervention in Queensland.

Bob McMullan, David Combe

Norma Jones discusses her appointment to the new Administrative Committee of the ALP after intervention and the sale of 4KQ which aided in re-establishing the party at the Peel Street site in Brisbane.

4KQ, Harry Hauenschild

Norma Jones reflects on the recovery of the ALP from the 1974 election rout and the importance of the change to the Goss leadership and the role of Peter Beattie and Wayne Swan in the party administration.

leadership, Peter Beattie, Wayne Goss, Wayne Swan

Norma Jones discusses how intervention changed the whole basis of the ALP and led to winning government in Queensland.

affirmative action

Norma Jones discusses the emergence of factions and their impact in the ALP.

factions, unions

Norma Jones discusses the role of unions in the ALP.


Norma Jones discusses some unions' criticism of the Bligh government's role during the last Queensland election.

Bligh Government 2007-12, unions

Norma Jones discusses the ALP election win in 1989.

1989 election

Interview ends