Janice (Jan) Murray represented the ALP in the 1978 elections for the New South Wales Legislative Assembly seat of Eastwood. Receiving no party help or funding, she nevertheless achieved a significant swing of 13.5%
Before entering party political life, Jan Murray's activism gave meaning to the feminist truth that 'the personal is political'. In 1972, Jan fought a very public fight for the right to use her own name, rather than that of her husband, eventually changing back to Murray from Brown by deed poll. While many conservative women were appalled by her actions, and told her so in no uncertain terms, other women supported her and were grateful to her for opening up the possibility to them of keeping their own names after marriage.
At the time of her campaign, Jan Murray was in her final year of an Arts degree from Macquarie University majoring in politics and English. She later graduated with first class honours. She was married to John Brown, MHR for Parramatta, and the mother of five children, born within seven years. She reverted to her maiden name by deed poll.
She was a life member of the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children, and a member of the Models and Mannequins Union. She was a regular guest on the Mike Walsh TV show, and in the 90s, a panellist on Beauty and the Beast.
She came to prominence by refusing to disclose her financial interests under the Governments disclosure legislation.
From 1981, she was the Principal in the PR firm of Jan Murray and Associates, which, over the next twenty years, handled some of the most significant public relations campaigns for the Australian tourist industry. She played a seminal role in the Paul Hogan "Shrimp on the barbecue" campaign and staged a celebrity breakfast for 10,000 people at the Gold Coast's Palm Meadows Golf Course to launch the Greg Norman Golf Tournament.
For Australia's Bicentennial, the firm ran a radiothon and raised a million dollars for the staging of the First Fleet Re-enactment Voyage, and found individual sponsorships for each of the vessels. Jan was also involved, acting pro bono, in the Lord Mayor's Bush Fire Appeal in 1995, which raised over $11 million. She was appointed to the Trust which was responsible for dispersing the fund.
Jan Murray is in demand as a guest speaker, and in 2005 opened the Fourth National Public Affairs Convention in Canberra.
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Australian Women's Register