PM to attend ex-Speaker's funeral in Victoria

AAP, with a staff reporter

Prime Minister Julia Gillard is expected to interrupt her week in western Sydney to attend a state funeral for former federal speaker Joan Child in Melbourne.

Ms Child, the first female Speaker of federal parliament, died on February 23, aged 91.

Ms Gillard and a number of former federal ministers are expected to be among about 300 people at the non-religious service at Monash University in Clayton on Tuesday.

Ms Gillard has said Australia has lost one of its pioneering female political leaders and she has lost a role model.

Ms Child was elected to the Melbourne seat of Henty in 1974, when she became the first female Labor member of the House of Representatives and only the fourth woman ever elected to the House.

She was Speaker from 1986 to 1989 under the Hawke government, and retired from parliament the following year.

Until the election of Labor's Anna Burke last October, Ms Child had been the only female Speaker.

The prime minister is on a five-day western Sydney stopover, widely seen as a bid to boost Labor support in the area where opinion polls signal a hammering for the party at the next election.