When she announced her new ministry last Monday, Julia Gillard made history. For the first time, women make up one-third of the Australian government. Although the cabinet remains unchanged, the promotion of three women into the ministry has radically altered the gender balance of the government.
There are four women, including Gillard, in the 20-member cabinet which in itself is a record (and the numbers were even better before the resignation of Nicola Roxon as attorney-general this year).
But it is the outer ministry where the radical change has occurred. Gillard promoted three women: Sharon Bird, Catherine King and Jan McLucas. This means that six of the 10 members of the ministry are women. That’s 60 per cent. That’s unprecedented in Australia.
» Continue reading High tide for women ministers »
While I was watching the ugly events of Thursday afternoon unfold, I was trying to remember the last time Australia had a perfect prime minister. Or even one who was universally popular.
Maybe our wartime leaders, John Curtin and the sainted Ben Chifley, deserve the mantle but it was before my time, so I can’t say. Certainly those men who have ruled us since have all been divisive figures whose popularity waxed and waned and whose competence was continually questioned – by their own side as much as by their opponents. But our memories of them become more benign the further away they are from having been in power.
Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
» Continue reading Judgment of history will be kinder to PM than TV news cycle »
If Tony Abbott was hoping he could tiptoe across the victory line on September 14 without having to take a definitive stand on abortion, he clearly wasn’t counting on the derring-do of some of his political bedfellows.
First, it was DLP senator John Madigan, who entertains high hopes of being Tony Abbott’s Brian Harradine.
Two weeks ago Madigan introduced legislation that would prohibit the Medicare rebate being paid on abortions decided on the basis of the gender of the foetus. Widespread as such gender-specific (and mostly anti-female) abortions are in countries such as India and China, there is absolutely no evidence that they are being performed in Australia. So, why the bill? Why indeed?
» Continue reading It’s a woman’s right to choose, not a man’s to try to control »