Guide to the papers of Members of the New South Wales Parliament, 1856-2006 in the Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales.
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Franca Arena (1937 - )

 

Biographical Note

Franca Arena, journalist broadcaster and parliamentarian, was born at Genoa, Italy, in 1937 and migrated to Australia in 1959. After her arrival in Sydney in 1959 she was employed as a journalist with the Italian newspaper La Fiamma, and as a broadcaster with various radio stations. In 1975 Arena was involved in the founding of Ethnic Radio 2EA Sydney where she remained until 1979. In 1976 Arena was awarded a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Fellowship which allowed her to travel overseas and study how ethnic groups participated in the affairs of their host countries, with a particular focus on the place of ethnic radio and television in integrating and informing ethnic groups.

Franca Arena was a founding member of the Ethnic Communities Council of NSW and convenor of the Women's Committee of the Council. Arena was founder and convenor of The Women's Network (1984), honorary secretary and a founding director of the Australian Republican Movement and a founding member of the Migrant Women's Association.

A member of the Australian Labor Party, Arena was elected to the Legislative Council of NSW in 1981. She was the first woman from a non-English speaking background to be elected to the NSW Parliament. During her period in state politics she was Commissioner for the Education Commission of NSW and a member of various committees and organisations concerned with immigration, multicultural and women's issues.

In 1996 Franca Arena made allegations under Parliamentary Privilege concerning the cover up of activities of paedophiles by public officials. Her allegations resulted in a parliamentary inquiry. In November 1997 Franca Arena resigned from the Australian Labor Party. She failed to win a seat as leader of the Franca Arena Child Safety Alliance at the 1999 state election. Her autobiography, Franca: my story, was published by Simon and Schuster in 2002.

 

Papers

Title

 Franca Arena - papers, ca.1960-2001
 

Creator

Arena, Franca, 1937 -
 

Call No.

MLMSS 7362

Title

 Franca Arena - further papers, 1959-2004
 

Creator

Arena, Franca, 1937 -
 

Call No.

MLMSS 7628

Title

 Franca Arena - correspondence, 1984-1996, concerning the Women's Network
 

Creator

Arena, Franca, 1937 -
 

Call No.

MLMSS 7630

Political Service

Party

Australian Labor Party, 1972-1997
 

Party

Independent, 1997-1999
 
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 Franca Arena
 
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