Bill’s heart in gender equality

If Bill Shorten is elected on the 18 May, he will for the first time in Australian history have equal numbers of men and women in the Labor caucus from which to select a gender equal cabinet. This will be a watershed moment for the Australian Labor Party and the nation. A twenty-five year project to lift the numbers of progressive women in parliament will reach its political zenith. Until Shorten’s powerfully emotional defence of his mother’s memory, most people have had little understanding of how important gender equality is to the Labor leader. But as a champion of affirmative action and equal opportunity for women in the Labor party I have seen Bill’s support for women up close and personal. Through our work together in the lead up to National Conference 2015 to lift the target for women candidates to 50%, I have seen the kind of leader Bill will be. There’s Bill the builder of consensus. EMILY’s List Australia campaigned hard for the 50% target – in branches, online and in the press. We’d been working incrementally towards it since forming in 1997, but this last 10% was proving difficult. In the lead up to conference, Bill never left us in any doubt that he took the campaign seriously and was working behind the scenes to bring together allies for change, including some blokes traditionally nervous about women’s advancement in the party. He used his clout, political judgment and leadership to back our gender equality motion in. He front footed his support in his opening speech to the party faithful. Consequently, when the vote was taken on the floor, there was not a word of dissent – no speakers opposed; not a single hand raised in opposition. The ALP will reach it target of 50/50 by 2025 ahead of schedule. Bill the respectful partner of women leaders. You can see it in the way he works with Tanya and Penny and the way he talks about Chloe. He cedes space and time for women to shine. Not all male leaders are comfortable with doing that.  The reverence he has for women leaders is not just for feminist superstars when the camera is on him. He respects women activists and rank & filers. On the eve of national conference he called women activists like me personally to talk through his intention to support the Affirmative Action motion and offered praise and thanks. It’s no accident we felt like we’d shared that win with him. Bill the carer. It was Bill who called me on the evening when Fiona Richardson, Australia’s first Family Violence Prevention Minister passed away. As her Chief of Staff, I was struggling with my own grief, as well as the responsibility for managing media and a family in crisis. In the middle of the maelstrom, Bill picked up the phone and offered real and genuine care for me as a member of the Labor family. He knew I’d be devastated and he was simply lovely. But it’s Bill the family man I admire most. The man who wants only the best for his children, especially his daughters. And that includes being a present figure in their lives. Since he took on the Labor leadership, I have seen him at dozens of events, including Saturday afternoons for EMILY’s List Australia, where he has rocked up suited and booted, with Clementine in his arms. No Chloe. Just Bill enjoying being a dad and balancing work and life. No cameras or fanfare. Just a Labor man relaxed in a room full of progressive women, where he knew there’d be nothing but acceptance for a leader working while carrying & parenting a child. Until this week, this side of Bill hasn’t been allowed to cut through. I’m so grateful that he defied the minders and the Murdoch media to show the world unguarded Bill. The unfakeable tears; the casual slip on a swear word; a gentleness in leadership style more akin to coach than autocrat. A person not only comfortable with sharing leadership with women but unafraid of appearing feminine. Australian voters say they crave politicians who are authentic and not simply party automatons. Many Australians took to social media pledging to flee across the Tasman, in adoration for Jacinda Arden’s loving response to the Christchurch Mosque bombings. We want someone like that. Now everyone, not just party insiders, know Bill’s heart is in it.   By Tanja Kovac, National Co-Convenor EMILY's List Australia

#MyMum wants...

Tomorrow is Mother’s Day and before chocolates, flowers and foot spas it used to be a day of political action by mums. With less than a week until federal election day let’s get behind the #MyMum online campaign sparked by Bill Shorten’s heartfelt speech about his mum Ann and the many women-focused policies that the Labor team are taking to the election.  Join us online tomorrow between 9am and 12pm AEST for social media activism by posting a #MyMum message and image. Download and print one of our posters and take a photo with it and your mum/nanna/kids to tell the world what you really want for Mother’s Day. Or post one of our ready-made graphics straight to your social media accounts with the #MyMum and #VoteForGenderEquality hashtags.  Click here to take action What better gift to give mum than a gender-balanced Shorten Labor Government? Let's get #MyMum trending online tomorrow morning!      P.S. If you're not active on social media, you can still give mum or your mentor the gift of more feminists in parliament by donating to EMILY's List Australia on her behalf. You also instantly receive a beautiful printable customisable card. 

Tanja Kovac on ABC's Jon Faine election wrap panel

Did you hear our National Co-Convenor Tanja Kovac discussing how gender is a major issue this election on ABC's Jon Faine election wrap panel? If you missed out listen online from 1 hour and 37 minutes onwards over here.

Give mum the gift of more feminists in parliament

Donate to EMILY's List Australia and receive a printable customisable card for Mum or mentor. Alternatively you can print your donation gift and include it in your own card to Mum. These beautiful digital cards will be sent to you in PDF form to show Mum you care (about seeing more feminists in Parliament)! Donate over here.   

Monthly membership launch for new members

From today 1st May 2019 we are offering the option for new members to pay their membership monthly instead of annually! The monthly membership prices will be: Full $15 per month Supporter $11 per month Concession $5 per month Click here to join as a new monthly member today. 

Labor women's policy platform launch

Last week Labor launched the most comprehensive women's policy platform that any Opposition has taken in to a federal election. Deputy Labor Leader Tanya Plibersek, Kooyong candidate Jana Stewart, and Labor Leader Bill Shorten presented Australian Women - Labor's Plan for Equality. In addition to being on track to elect the first ever gender balanced government a few highlights in this extensive strategy include: A $660 million investment in the Fourth Action Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children Legislated 10 days of paid leave for family violence victims A National Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy improving access to terminations in public hospitals $400 million to boost women’s superannuation Closing the gender pay gap by making large employers publicly report their pay gap, banning pay secrecy clauses, and strengthening the ability of the Fair Work Commission to order pay increases for workers in female dominated industries You can read the plan over here. You can watch video of the launch over here and here.  Labor has also announced a $4 billion plan for free or low cost childcare and wage increase for early childhood educators of 20% over eight years.   

High Court decision on Safe Access Zones

The High Court of Australia has delivered a landmark ruling confirming the constitutional validity of legislation establishing safe access zones in Victoria and Tasmania. This bodes well for the McGowan Labor Government proposed Safe Access Zones in WA. Yesterday they released a discussion paper to introduce 'safe access zones' around premises that provide abortion services in WA. The paper explores how a legislative framework might operate to ensure that patients can access health services that provide terminations without fear of protest, intimidation or harassment. Public consultation has begun and all members of the public are welcome to lodge submissions on the development of the proposed legislation by the 31st May 2019. The discussion paper, the online survey and more information surrounding the consultation process can be found over here. 

Election Day called

It's official: May 18th 2019 will be federal election day. Join our movement for gender equity, support more progressive Labor women into parliament. Volunteer on a local campaign to make it happen. 

Labor Women's Budget Statement

  The Coalition government scrapped the annual Women's Budget Statement so this morning the Australian Labor Party delivered their own casting a crucial gendered lens on the budget to analyse its impact on women. Tanya Plibersek, with the support of Linda Burney and Sharon Claydon, delivered the report. You can watch video of the presentation over here on Bill Shorten's Facebook page.  You can read the full statement here.  

International Day For The Elimination Of Racial Discrimination

On this day 59 years ago police killed 69 people at a peaceful anti-apartheid demonstration in Sharpesville, South Africa. Six years later in 1966 the UN declared March 21st as the International Day For The Elimination Of Racial Discrimination. In 1998 the Howard Government renamed this day to Harmony Day to depoliticise it and disconnect it from its history. At EMILY's List Australia we are proud to be political and proud to be supporting Women of Colour and First Nations women as endorsed candidates in the upcoming NSW state election and federal election. Read about and donate directly to the campaigns of Sabrin Farooqui, Charishma Kaliyanda, Jana Stewart, Stella Yee, Shireen Morris, Jennifer Yang, Anne Aly and Linda Burney. For more information on how to become an EMILY's List Australia endorsed candidate contact us.