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All women are equal but some are more equal than others

By Russell Grenning - posted Friday, 6 October 2017

Students of history may recall that former Labor Premier of Victoria Joan Kirner was mercilessly lampooned for her polka dot dress by Magda Szubanski. Ms Kirner, a founder member of Emily's List, proved her feminist credentials after her government's landslide defeat in 1992 by endorsing a man – Steve Bracks – for her seat after she resigned from Parliament. Factional loyalties were far more important for Ms Kirner at the time.

Incidentally, the other pin-up girl for Emily's List, former Prime Minister Julia Gillard, a member of the Labor Left faction, proved her feminist credentials in 2013 when she endorsed a man – David Feeney – as the Labor candidate for Batman. Mr Feeney, a singularly uninspiring former union hack from Julia's opposing Right faction was up against some impressive and, no doubt, "satisfactory" women for the endorsement including the former Emily's List national convenor Hutch Hussein and fellow Left faction member Mary-Anne Thomas.

Indeed, her then Families Minister Jenny Macklin said at the time that Labor would be in breach of its national rules to have 40% of candidates in winnable seats be women if a woman wasn't the candidate for Batman. Michael Gordon, writing in The Sydney MorningHerald at the time (June 3, 2013) said, "The irony is that a victory for a woman in Batman will be an embarrassment to the country's first female primeminister."Ms Gillard's endorsement of Feeney had everything to do with repaying a political debt which was obviously far more important than the noble principles of Emily's List.


"Satisfactory"women can buy tickets to the "Polka Dot Ball"for a mere $100 each although they can also buy a "Solidarity ticket" for $50. "Satisfactory"women are urged, "If you can't come, will you help cover the cost of a young woman attending?"I suppose it is too bloody bad for middle aged and elderly women who might have benefitted from a "Solidarity ticket". I can only conclude that women can be "satisfactory"while still being afflicted with the politically incorrect sin of ageism.

And that is that. Nothing for "satisfactory"womenanywhere else in the country.

Despite Ms Gillard's brazen breach in 2013 of the ALP national rule about having 40% of women as candidates in winnable seats – the view of her own Families Minister Jenny Macklin at the time – she remains a sentimental favourite among "satisfactory" women and they can purchase at their website tea-towels ($25) and posters ($20) featuring her so-called "Misogyny Speech" when she got stuck into Tony Abbott.

Emily's List has what could be politely described as a curious attitude to democracy.

For example, when Anna Bligh's Queensland Labor Government suffered an overwhelming defeat in 2012 winning only seven seats in a Parliament of eighty-nine, Labor's "satisfactory" women issued a statement bemoaning, "Saturday was a sad day for the Labor Party in Queensland, but what has gone unreported is just how sad a day is was also for Queensland women."

It was a "sad" day for Queensland woman, they said and we all know whose fault this was because Emily's List told us, "These disturbing figures were further evidence ofthe contempt the Liberal National Party held for women." The voters had nothing to do with it presumably.


Seventeen Liberal National Party women MPs had been elected in that election but, of course, they weren't "satisfactory".

International Women's Day on March 8 - surely the most important day in the feminist calendar - didn't rate a single mention let alone celebration by Emily's List this year. Perhaps they found the theme "Be Bold For Change"just a bit too daunting.

Now I think that is most unsatisfactory, don't you?

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About the Author

Russell Grenning is a retired political adviser and journalist who began his career at the ABC in 1968 and subsequently worked for the then Brisbane afternoon daily, The Telegraph and later as a columnist for The Courier Mail and The Australian.

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