The battle to win the votes of women is shaping up to be a central feature of the upcoming election following last night’s federal budget. Last night Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced a record spend on a national plan to reduce violence against women and children and a series of other initiatives to tackle the party’s perceived “women’s problem”.
Meanwhile Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has promised to appoint a female Governor-General and measures to reduce the pay gap between men and women. The battlelines include ongoing debate about the value of quotas which the Coalition has steadfastly rejected.
On Friday night, Future Women is launching HerVote, an initiative aiming to encourage more women to take an interest in the debate. The “town hall” style event will be headlined by Labor’s Deputy Leader Tanya Plibersek and the Liberal Party’s Sussan Ley, Assistant Minister for Regional Development and Territories, who will speak to why they are involved in politics and what they have achieved along the way.
In the aftermath of the MeToo movement there is evidence that younger women in the United States are becoming more politically active. It is still to be seen in Australia but organisations like Women For Election and campaigns such as HerVote give an inkling there is a similar groundswell. When it comes to the women’s vote, Prime Minister Scott Morrison is not taking any risks. The budget included $328 million for more emergency refuges and frontline services plus additional funding for a counselling hotline 1800RESPECT.
Future Women’s limited edition HerVote tee. Available here.
It also included funds to encourage young girls into science, technology, engineering and maths careers. And set aside $2.1 million for a mentoring program for female musicians. There was also funding for women’s breast health with a saving on magnetic resonance imaging scans of up to $1500 a scan. Breast cancer detection will be improved through new subsidies for a new type of scan known as Fluorodeoxyglucose Positron Emission Tomography.
Meanwhile, almost half the Labor caucus is female giving Mr Shorten an edge when claiming the Opposition is better placed to represent the views of women.“If we did nothing else in the next 10 years but achieve the equal treatment of women in Australian society, we would be the richest, most successful country on the planet,” he told The Sydney Morning Herald. “We would be the happiest and the fairest.”
His policies include a commitment to change the Fair Work Act to act on the undervaluation of work in areas such as child care and aged care, as well as measures to pay superannuation contributions during parental leave. Mr Shorten will give his budget reply speech tomorrow night.
#HerVote is our new campaign aiming to elevate women’s voices and inform women’s opinions. Join us on Friday April 5 for our first #HerVote event featuring a number of prominent female political voices and upcoming candidates.
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