“Poised to take over as Labor Party president in the next fortnight,
Warren Mundine is already eyeing off a Senate seat that would see him
replace Aden Ridgeway as the only Aborigine in the federal parliament,”
The Australian says today.
But there’s a barrier: “To help get Mr Mundine into parliament, the
party will now have to find a way to get around its feminist
affirmative action policy, which says that 40% of winnable
seats must be contested by a woman. To be upheld, this means another
person on the Senate ticket must be a woman.”
It’s a pretty significant issue. When you look at the current Senate
make-up and Labor’s stated goal, it appears as if the Bruvvers have a
problem with the sisterhood.
The Territories are fine. They only have two Senate spots. They’re
split between the sexes, with Kate Lundy representing the ACT and Trish
McCrossin braving the long trip down from Darwin.
The representation from women from the states, however, is lousy. Only
the South Australian division of the ALP deserves a pat on the back.
The Croweaters have five women Senators – Penny Wong, Annette Hurley,
Linda Kirk, Anne McEwen and Dana Wortley – and the first two are very
In contrast, the Victorians don’t have any. Tasmanian and Queensland
Labor have two women Senators each – Carol Brown and Helen Polley and
Claire Moore and Jan McLucas respectively – while there’s only one from
the West, Ruth Webber.
And Mundine’s home turf of NSW? It’s represented for the Labor cause in the Senate by just one woman, Ursula Stephens.
Stay tuned for some nice clashes of race and gender.