You can’t say female politicians aren’t getting equal time at the moment — for good and bad.
Let’s start with the good. In New South Wales, Queensland and New Zealand the political fight is between parties headed by female candidates.
The bad is that in two of those contests the female leaders are in the spotlight for scandals around corruption allegations.
Let’s start with NSW where there has been plenty written — and plenty more to come — on Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s fight for survival after revelations of her close personal relationship with a disgraced former MP Daryl Maguire.
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Sure she gave a gracious and brave press conference admitting she “stuffed up” in her personal life, taking the blame for her bad relationship choices, assuring that she was still the same honest hardworking person of integrity and vowing she would stay on to fight for the people of NSW.
Her supporters, including the blokes vying for her job even before this, have publicly stood by her. For now. But much will depend on how Maguire behaves in the ICAC witness box later this week.
One interesting name that jumped to her defence this morning was former PM and longtime friend Malcolm Turnbull who has not said whether the Berejiklian affair would have breached his infamous “bonking ban”.
Those prominent women with a zero tolerance attitude to sexual harassment in the workplace might want to note that the premier was indeed Maguire’s boss as evidenced by the fact she had to sack him in the end.
The irony of course is that whatever poor judgement she has shown pales when compared with her deputy and mooted successor Dominic Perrottet’s controversial behaviour in the recent icare scandal.
The fact that the Labor opposition leader in NSW is also female means Jodi McKay has not held back in exploiting Berejiklian’s problems. That McKay is in her job because of a sexual harassment scandal by her predecessor Luke Foley is long forgotten in the bearpit, or should that be cesspit, of NSW politics.
Meanwhile north of the closed border the October 31 Queensland election was upended this morning after the news that Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington has been referred to the electoral watchdog by her own LNP party.
The allegations involve suspicious donations after a series of meetings involving wealthy donors, property figures and federal Queensland heavyweight Peter Dutton which could be illegal under Queensland laws.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk had her own problems with her female deputy, Jackie Trad, who was forced to resign only months ago over corruption allegations.
With the election only two weeks away and Labor sources wary that it might be tighter than expected, Frecklington will be the issue.
Meanwhile New Zealanders head to the polls this weekend with the choice between incumbent Labor PM Jacinda Ardern and opposition Nationals leader Judith “Crusher” Collins.
Saint Jacinda is still firm favourite, and short of a Gladys style fall from grace in the coming days it looks like she will be the one giving the female pollies a good name. Though maybe being as bad as the blokes is true equality.
NOTE: This story has been updated to correct the name of a previous NSW Labor leader.