Julie-bishop

Malcolm’s Matriarchy: 5 Reasons Women Win In Cabinet

In a move much anticipated by the Australian public, Malcolm Turnbull has more than doubled the number of women in the federal cabinet. The new PM has appointed three additional women, making up five in total. Along with Julie Bishop (Deputy Leader and Minister for Foreign Affairs) and Sussan Ley (Minister for Health and Minister for Sport), the cabinet features Marise Payne (Minister for Defense), Michaelia Cash (Minister for Employment, Minister for Women, and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service), and Kelly O’Dwyer (Minister for Small Business and Assistant Treasurer).

RELATED: What Will Malcolm Turnbull Mean For Women?

Understandably, this reshuffling could potentially mean big changes. Women have different ways of thinking and as such will bring a different perspective to the decision making process. So just how big are the changes and what could they really mean? What will these wonderful women bring to the table that men will not? Here are our top 5 reasons (one for every leading lady!) to be pleased that more women are in power:

1. Marise Payne is the first female Minister for Defense

Yep; Marise Payne is the first female Minister for Defense in Australia’s history. The fact that Malcolm Turnbull has appointed a woman to this traditionally male avenue indicates that he thinks outside the square of perceived gender boundaries, which is much needed if the voice of women in politics is to grow.

2. The Minister for Women is actually a woman

One of the biggest criticisms Tony Abbott faced was his self-appointment as Minister for Women. It seemed more than a little odd that he believed he could fully understand being a woman when he had no firsthand experience of, well – being a woman. Michaelia Cash is a much needed breath of fresh air and will ensure that the position gets the focus and energy it deserves.

3. Kelly O’Dwyer is a kick-ass choice for anything economical

Kelly O’Dwyer has been presented with the unenviable task of doing a one-woman job previously shared by two men. Basically, as Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Small Business, she’s going to be at the forefront of one of the less pleasant aspects of politics; tax reform. In addition to this, she will be appointed to cabinet’s powerhouse expenditure review committee, which is central to the government’s budget process. This could, in time, make her one of the most powerful ministers in the Turnbull government.

While some may be daunted, Kelly O’Dwyer is more than up to the task. She was passed up for the position by Tony Abbott, but now comes at it with a history of pre-political-career law practice, and an incredibly solid parliamentary background in economics. This began in 2004, when she was adviser to former Treasurer Peter Costello, becoming Senior Advisor in 2005, and has continued in various treasury positions right up to her appointment to cabinet. We’re in good hands!

4. The Minister for Sport is still a woman

It’s fantastic that Sussan Ley has remained Minister for Sport. She pushes the presence of women in an area in which women are grossly under-represented. Given the huge discrepancy in interest/viewing/funding between women’s and men’s sport, it is vital that women get as much of a plug as they can. Sport is integral to Australia’s image, profits and way of life. Women in sport must not be overlooked and a female Minister for Sport will help facilitate this.

5. Julie Bishop

Regardless of which side of the political fence you sit on, it is undeniable that Julie Bishop has done an extraordinary job as Deputy Leader and Minister for Foreign Affairs. Her representation of Australia overseas is beyond reproach, and her quiet, no-nonsense authority is a force to be reckoned with on home shores. More to the point; she’s never played the “I’m a woman” victim card to excuse any criticism she receives. She is an excellent example for any woman who aspires to positions of power, and encourages women not to be ashamed of wanting success.

In short, the new found girl power of the Turnbull government can be summed up in one paragraph: “I believe that as more women around the world take on leadership positions – in their communities, countries, across continents – the impact of female leadership will be profound… And let’s face it, including women in leadership teams adds a diversity of attitudes, outlooks and experience. And greater diversity means the team is more likely to come up with new ideas, more creative approaches, and more flexible thinking and responses to challenges.”

Who said that? You guessed it; Julie Bishop. Go figure.

What do you think about Malcolm Turnbull’s new cabinet? Let us know in the comments below!

Image via Dailytelegraph.com.au

September 21, 2015

Lib Spill: What Will Malcolm Turnbull Mean For Women?

Unless you have been living in a subterranean hole beneath south-west Guatemala for the last 24 hours, you will have heard of the most recent unrest in Australian politics. Yesterday, the now former Minister for Communications, Malcolm Turnbull, challenged Tony Abbott’s leadership – and won. In a vote that began at 9.15pm last night, Turnbull defeated Abbott 54-44.

Many questions have been raised about Turnbull’s impending leadership; the climate change policy (which will remain the same) and Australia’s stance on refugees are at the forefront. However, one question that nobody has asked yet is what his term in office will mean for women.

RELATED: Tony Abbott’s Pledge: Asylum For More Refugees

Abbott’s handling of women and their interests has constantly been portrayed in a very negative light, so it’s a wonder this wasn’t one of the first issues raised. In 2015, women are more of a global force than ever. We are essential to governance because (whatever the uber feminists will have us believe) we have a different perception of the world to men. We are wired differently. This should be acknowledged and celebrated, not quashed by political correctness.

We all know the Abbott cabinet consisted of only one woman; Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop. After last night’s vote, she will remain Deputy, defeating Defense Minister Kevin Andrews’ challenge 70-30. That’s quite the margin.

With those numbers; it’s unclear why Andrews bothered to oppose her. Ms Bishop has proven time and time again that she is the best candidate for Deputy Leader and a formidable force in both national and global politics. Whatever side of the political fence you sit on, her representation of Australia overseas has been impeccable, and the calm and quiet authority she demonstrates is something all politicians should aspire to.

More to the point, she is living, breathing proof that women are a productive and necessary element of government.

Ms Bishop debunks many of the stereotypes the political “boys’ club” attaches to women in the political arena. She has never displayed the perceived “feminine drama” these men seem to expect and fear. Both major political parties are guilty of this. She’s proof that a woman’s drive and strength stems from intelligence and conviction. It is not inherently connected to ‘aggression’ (or menstruation, as Donald Trump suggested of Fox host Megyn Kelly when she was tough on him during the GOP debate). When confronted by Julie Bishop as a representation of the assets of female politicians, the boys’ club doesn’t have a leg to stand on.

Will Malcolm Turnbull acknowledge this and finally appoint more women into high powered political positions? Will the Minister for Women this time actually be a woman? Will he push for a more egalitarian political arena?

Signs point to yes. Turnbull has openly encouraged more women to enter politics. In July, Turnbull attended the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians Conference. Women for Election Australia had conducted a survey of 53 current politicians in local, state and federal government, which found that women are, “routinely expected to tolerate tantrums, nastiness, vindictiveness, visions personal attacks, nasty emails and attacks on family.”

Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick stated: “We are trying to create a critical mass of change agents…who understand the need for change not just with their heads but with their hearts. It is not about men saving women, it is about men standing up beside women.”

Turnbull fully supported this assertion, and stated that, “Increasing the number of women in politics is not solely a ‘women’s issue’ – it is in the national interest for Australia to have access to 100 per cent of the nation’s talent pool, regardless of gender…Disrespect, verbal abuse and demeaning of women are connected to the curse of domestic violence that we are battling and should not be tolerated anywhere and especially in our parliaments.”

He continued with: “We also need to make Parliament a more family friendly place in which to work. The way it currently operates is antithetical to anyone who wants to spend time with family, whether they are men or women.  For many reasons, this affects women more than men. If we have a workplace that discriminates against a part of the population – in this case, half of the population – shouldn’t we be asking ourselves, what are those aspects of that workplace that are able to be changed?”

Turnbull demonstrates a hugely promising attitude not just for women in politics, but women in general. By acknowledging families, Turnbull advocates appropriate maternity leave. By calling out the bullying that goes on in male-dominated workplaces, including his own, he is challenging certain men trying desperately to maintain the status quo and thus excuse their bad behaviour. And he more than highlights the glaring problem of violence against women.

In addition to this, Turnbull is also openly pro-choice. Abbott was vehement in his opposition to abortion, and told Four Corners: “I want to make it clear that I do not judge or condemn any woman who has had an abortion, but every abortion is a tragedy and up to 100,000 abortions a year is this generation’s legacy of unutterable shame.” He has also stated: “The problem with the Australian practice of abortion is that an objectively grave matter has been reduced to a question of the mother’s convenience.”

This flippancy towards victims of rape or pedophilia, and towards those with medical conditions that make bearing children life-threatening, is more than a little…unfortunate. Turnbull would combat this attitude, and hopefully remove the measures Abbott put in place to make abortion less accessible. Big, big plusses there.

Whether Malcolm Turnbull lives up to the hype remains to be seen. However, regardless of how he handles policy issues, his attitude to/acknowledgement of women is highly productive. More women in politics means a greater (and long overdue) female voice in governance. Women should not have to try to be men to be heard and Prime Minister Turnbull is our best chance of facilitating this.

Image via Theshovel.com.au

September 14, 2015

Chan And Sukumaran Executed: Australia Reacts

Despite negotiations and multiple pleas for mercy, convicted Australian drug smugglers Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran have been executed by firing squad.

Chan, 31 and Sukumaran, 34 were killed along with six others on Indonesia’s Nusakambangan Island at around 12.35am this morning, with reports claiming it took 27 minutes for all prisoners to be pronounced dead.

Many gathered in prayer on the mainland, while a marquee for the family and friends of the prisoners was set up near the execution site. In what can only be described as heart-breaking, it has been reported that some of the gun shots fired could be heard from the tent.

The 31 and 34-year-old’s families have since released a joint statement saying: “Today we lost Myuran and Andrew. Our sons, our brothers. In the ten years since they were arrested, they did all they could to make amends, helping many others. They asked for mercy, but there was none. They were immensely grateful for all the support they received. We too, will be forever grateful.”

The families of the Bali 9 duo aren’t the only ones angered by the Indonesian Government’s lack of morality. In a press conference Australian Prime Minister Toni Abbott and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop addressed the “cruel and unnecessary” executions and revealed that Australia will now withdraw its ambassador to Indonesia, Paul Grigson, as a result.

“We respect Indonesia’s sovereignty but we do deplore what’s been done and this cannot be simply business as usual. For that reason, once all the courtesies have been extended to the Chan and Sukumaran families our ambassador will be withdrawn for consultations.”

“I want to stress that this is a very important relationship between Australia and Indonesia,” Abott continued, “but it has suffered as a result of what’s been done over the last few hours.”

Julie Bishop later went on to explain: “The withdrawal of an ambassador is to register our displeasure at the way our citizens have been treated,” and further pointed out that it was “senseless” to execute the two men after rehabilitating themselves during a decade in prison.

There has been an out-pour of both anger and support for the two men’s family via social media and news sites around the world have expressed their disapproval, also. And while everyone involved did everything they could to keep Chan and Sukumaran from death-row, Todung Mulya Lubis – one of the Australian men’s lawyers – took to Twitter to grieve: “I failed. I lost.”

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends involved.

April 29, 2015