Melbourne: Two Kinds Of Politics

It’s Saturday afternoon and I’m standing in front of Melbourne’s State Library. A large crowd has gathered for the Equal Love rally in support of gay marriage.

It’s a motley crowd. Many carry placards, one of which reads, “I can’t believe we’re still protesting this shit”. Others demand amendment of the Marriage Act. There are calls for equal rights and many challenges to the conventional definition of “family”.

My interest is to see how the election candidates fare. In a week’s time, the electorate of Melbourne will have a new member in the House of Representatives. This Federation seat, established in 1901 and represented by the ALP since 1904, may be about to reject the Labor candidate in favour of the Greens. [Read more…]


ALP Women Continue Fight For Equal Representation

The ALP Women’s Conference, meeting in Canberra over the weekend, has called for the ALP to achieve a target of 50% of women in internal party positions and in the various Federal, State and Territory Parliaments.

ALP Women MPs
Parliament % Women
Federal
27
N.S.W.
21
Victoria
32
Queensland
41
Western Australia
25
South Australia
48
Tasmania
29
A.C.T.
35
N.T.
31
Source: Canberra Times, April 29, 2002

The ALP has previously adopted a policy of having 35% of women in safe and/or winnable seats.

Speakers at the conference drew attention to the disparity in female representation across the various Parliaments. South Australia and Queensland have the highest proportion of ALP women members, whilst Western Australia and New South Wales have the lowest proportion. (See table opposite.)

The debate over affirmative action in party pre-selections is a controversial one within the ALP. Critics argue that candidates should be chosen on their merits, whereas the former Victorian Premier, Joan Kirner, is reported today as saying: “Well, yes, they should be selected on merit, and what this does is give women an opportunity to demonstrate their merit. The competition should be about merit for everybody.” [Read more…]


Pressure Group Campaigns In The 2001 Federal Election

As always, pressure groups were active in the 2001 Federal Election.

This is a sample of some of the more prominent pressure group campaigns during the election. [Read more…]