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Women calling out Morrison’s atrocious record

Margaret Morgan writes in The Big Smoke (9 January 2022) “With voters wanting change, independents are calling out the most ethically-compromised government in living memory.”  

One of the most striking developments in Australian politics over the last quarter of a century has been the decline in support for major political parties. So it’s unsurprising that we are now seeing more independents taking on major parties in lower house seats.  

As the Truth and Integrity Project’s recent report Disgust and Distrust spells out, federal first preference votes for the Liberal-National Coalition and the Labor Party have dropped around 5% since 1996, while those for other parties or independents has grown from 14% to 25% at the last . Independents and minor party representation in both the Senate and the House of Representatives has been growing steadily as a result. 

We are now witnessing a dramatic escalation of independent federal candidates through the movement, candidates motivated by a desire to see change in crucial areas of anti- and

The Voices independents,motivated by a desire to see change in crucial areas like anti-corruption and climate change, are using the model of mobilisation pioneered by Cathy McGowan who in 2013 usurped the Liberal’s Sophie Mirabella in Indi. 

McGowan’s successor in that seat, independent , followed the same strategy and since then, the movement has spread across the country. They are targeting the seats of Liberal “moderates” who, while claiming progressive stances on climate, inevitably vote with the Coalition’s most -obsessed far-right politicians.  

Unsurprisingly,there have been vociferous attempts to discredit the movement, with claims that candidates are cunningly-disguised or ALP supporters. It’s a dangerous line to take, risking alienating the very people who might end up deciding who’ll be our next minority government; not to mention offending the small-l liberal voters frustrated by the Coalition’s inaction on issues that matter to them.  

One reason for the rise in female independents seeking is that women in Australia are simply more concerned about global heating than men. A recent analysis by the  found that while 70 per cent of men are either “very concerned” or “fairly concerned”about climate change, the number is nearly 80 per cent of women.  

That frustration has found a voice among women who are perhaps too politically conservative to support a party like the Greens (or even the ALP), but who realise that there is little point in attempting to sway the party they might have once supported.  

And really, what woman would consider joining the Liberal Party anyway, given the cascade of horrors that the last few years have produced?  

When the was released, said that he was “not surprised” by its contents. If that’s so, why had he done nothing about it? 

His government’s record on women is atrocious. From ’ experiences to the Prime Minister suggesting that the women demonstrating outside Parliament should be appreciative they weren’t shot, the government’s failure to even understand the problem has contributed to the spectacular collapse in female support.  

And even if women do seek Liberal Party preselection in an attempt to force change,the reality is that the best they’ll get is a marginal seat that will suck up all their energies as they attempt to retain at the following election, leaving little time for them to work on policy or reach positions of influence in Parliament.  

But there’s one other important difference that the are struggling with.It is no coincidence that the movement is called “Voices”.  

They used to call it gossip: the constant communication that women have with each other. We tend to form complex and intimate webs of connection with each other and the has given that a massive boost in both power and immediacy.The women of the Voices have harnessed for their own ends. The vast infrastructural resources needed for organising political campaigns and disseminating information in legacy politics are now far less crucial, with the internet perfectly crafted for grassroots communication. 

Added to this is the growth in female empowerment, with higher levels of education,income and expectation. Women are taking increasingly senior roles in business and academia, yet in the Coalition, their rise is stymied by the pretence that a merit process is in place. In fact, it’s run by a quota system, one that rewards people who look and act like the people who make the decisions: men. 

So it’s a confluence of factors, resulting in an uprising of female political voices.

It has been rightly pointed out that so far, the Voices candidates also lack . They tend to be middle-class, white, educated and centrist. While this is a fair criticism, it’s also important to note exactly which voters they’re wooing: people like them, the core constituency of the affluent Liberal heartland.  

There is no point in pretending that this is an intersectional feminist revolution.But with each woman in a position of power, female political success gets normalised and it gets easier next time. 

Nor is it a green revolution. The candidates are largely pro-business and pro-Capitalism, so are unlikely to subscribe to the belief held by many that the growth model of the global economy is incompatible with long-term environmental stability. 

But it might just result in the defeat of the most scientifically-backwards,ethically-compromised government in our living memory. 

And we might just rejoin the civilised world in trying to control the most pressing existential threat humanity has faced. 

 Margaret Morgan is an Australian author, novelist, screenwriter and political commentator with a background in law and science. Margaret is also part of is part of the Truth and Integrity Project.

The rise of the women – The Big Smoke