Category Archives: Women

Last Week in Queensland – 6 February 2017

last-week-logo-2Dreadful family violence stories and the new US President, marginalised other news in Queensland, but Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party made plenty of news, as did impending changes at Queensland Rail.




Opposition and Crossbench

Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls

Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls






Economy and Infrastructure

Federal Urban Infrastructure Minister Paul Fletcher

Federal Urban Infrastructure Minister Paul Fletcher



  • Queensland’s Parliament sits next week, from Tuesday 14 February to Thursday 16 February

    Federal Parliament House

    Federal Parliament House

  • The Queensland Parliament’s summary of what’s new, including newly-introduced and passed legislation, is here
  • Federal Parliament sits this week, from Tuesday 7 February to Thursday 9 February


Sleeper Issues?







* We’re not representing that this is a complete coverage of news in Queensland – it certainly isn’t, and it’s what we find interesting or important, and sometimes what’s unusual.  Some of the links will require subscriptions to read content.



Why Trump Won 2*

Today, this guy becomes US President

Today, this guy becomes US President

Almost every election victory involves stitching together a coalition, and Donald Trump did so successfully.

Asking why Donald Trump won is quite a different question from “why did Hillary Clinton lose?”, and that latter question will be addressed in another article soon.

The difference between Donald Trump’s victory and a defeat was very small: small margins in a small number of states.**

Because the margin was so narrow in those three or four states which Donald Trump won by small margins, many things, some big and some small, made the difference between a win and a loss.

Because so many events, activities, mistakes, and so on could each have driven the comparatively small margins by which Donald Trump secured victory, it means every commentator’s preferred reason(s) for victory can be claimed as THE reason for the result – everyone is right, and everyone wins a prize.

However there are bigger reasons why Donald Trump was able to secure victory, whilst so obviously unfit for the job. He should have been, by most criteria***, 30% behind and not just 2.2%.

For 23 years, Republican Party Members of Congress, bloggers, activists, and more, attacked Hillary Clinton. Regardless of the validity of those attacks, they constructed a consistent narrative about the character of Hillary Clinton, and built substantial distrust and dislike of her. That branding of Hillary Clinton was in place before she nominated, was present for the whole of the campaign, and was referenced often by many amongst Donald Trump’s supporters.  According to this narrative, she is an out-of-touch, remote elitist, focussed on her own advancement, and untrustworthy.

With many voters there was also a significant element of misogyny, synergising with the Republicans’ long-term branding of Hillary Clinton, which undoubtedly influenced their choice of candidates.

The Republican Party’s management of Hillary Clinton’s image, and the Trump campaign’s exploitation of that image, drove some voters towards Donald Trump, but also drove some voters, normally voting Democrat, to choose to abstain (see here about US voluntary voting).

The active things the Trump campaign deployed included the exploitation and maximisation of discontent: he branded himself as the voice of frustration, the voice of change, anti-elite, and anti-the system, which contrasted with Hillary Clinton’s image as part of “the system”.

His pivot to Republican orthodoxy, evident during the third presidential debate, was the point at which he began to win back the support of the Republican base, and their activists.

News articles are only now emerging which describe his under-the-radar campaign organisation, which to most commentators during the campaign did not appear to exist. Recent articles propose the data capabilities of the Trump campaign are competitive with the previously superior Democratic party machine, and the Obama campaign: while this may be the case, there is currently insufficient information in the public domain to allow a judgement.

The Trump campaign’s messaging was also effective: it was consistent, relentless, careful, and emotion-focused.

So Donald Trump was able to overcome what should have been unelectability, because

  • the Republican Party had invested cleverly in constructing his opponent’s image over the long-term, and the Trump campaign exploited that investment
  • his own campaign probably functioned more effectively than most people gave it credit for
  • his messaging was effective and delivered the voters he needed, and
  • he built a winning coalition of voters: most of the Republican base, and voters discontented with many elements of the American system of government.


* Just in time for inauguration day, this evaluation is based on observations from within the campaign and reading about it

** Hillary Clinton actually won the popular vote by around 2.2%.

*** We’re going to talk about those differing criteria in the coming article about the reasons for Hillary Clinton’s loss.



Last Week in Queensland – 5 September 2016

last-week-logo-2In Queensland last week*: more detail of anti-gang laws, reports of conflict in Cabinet, and 17-year-olds to move out of adult prisons.




The Opposition and Crossbench


Robbie Katter MP, on the right






Economy and Infrastructure


Parliamentparl house

  • Queensland’s Parliament next sits from Tuesday 13 September to Thursday 15 September
  • The Queensland Parliament’s summary of what’s new, including newly-introduced and passed legislation, is here
  • Both Houses of Federal Parliament next sit from Monday 12 September to Thursday 1 September – see





* We’re not representing that this is a complete coverage of news in Queensland – it certainly isn’t, and it’s what we find interesting or important, and sometimes what’s unusual.  Some of the links will require subscriptions to read content.



Last Week in Queensland – 14 March 2016

last-week-logo-2Last week*, Labor’s minority Queensland Government became more of a minority, an early State Election became a stronger possibility, and the Government, labelled do-nothing, released their four-year Infrastructure Plan and five-year Women’s Strategy.  Horrific levels of child abuse were documented in remote communities.  Mixed signals about the state of the Queensland economy were received, as commentators started to acknowledge the infrastructure and Government spending needed far outstrip what’s available.  Chaos at Queensland Nickel means no-one yet knows whether it has a future, let alone what that future might be.



The Opposition






Economy and Infrastructure


Opening Parliament 2015Parliament

  • Queensland’s Parliament next sits this week, from Tuesday 15 March 2016 to Thursday 17 March, then not again until April 19.
  • The Parliament’s summary of what’s new, including newly-introduced and passed legislation, is here
  • The Federal Parliament next sits – both Houses – on Tuesday 15 March 2016 – see


Sleeper Issues?





* We’re not representing that this is a complete coverage of news in Queensland – it certainly isn’t, and it’s what we find interesting or important, and sometimes what’s unusual.  Some of the links will require subscriptions to read content.


Peta Credlin & Political Leadership

peta-and-tony-smallI enjoy freaking out my friends by telling them I like Peta Credlin, formerly Tony Abbott’s Chief of Staff.  Genuinely, I think she was a woman treated unfairly, that she was smart, tough and capable.  Her politics, sure, were an issue.

Now she’s spoken about gender, I’m reviewing my views.

Peta is quoted as this week saying “If I was a guy I wouldn’t be bossy, I would be strong. If I was a guy I wouldn’t be a micromanager I would be across my brief.”

Superficially, she’s right – these are the disempowering labels used by people, mostly men, when they’re not coping with strong and knowledgeable women.

But her feminist* analysis of commentary of her role mischaracterises those criticisms.

Those who called her bossy didn’t mean it.  They were being polite and euphemistic – they meant she was a bully, and those who bully should be called bullies, though they might claim they’re just forceful or strong or misunderstood.

Those who called her a micromanager were speaking politely, too, and colloquially, and meant much more.  They, too, were being euphemistic – they meant she was megalomaniacal and a control freak, and those who are megalomaniacal or control freaks should be called on it, and mustn’t be allowed to get away with it.

I’ve never met Peta, so can’t attest to the accuracy of what’s been said of her, but I know her critics meant so much more than merely “bossy” and “micromanager”, and I know it’s possible for such criticisms, levelled at a powerful woman by the most sexist men, nonetheless to be accurate or indeed understated**.

I also know this: almost no leader who’s told they are bossy, or a micro-manager, or a bully, or a control freak, will accept it; those who operate like that almost never see it, and describe their behavior differently.

She also said “You will want to have women like me in politics, you will want to have women like me sitting in seats of authority”.

We don’t, if her critics are anywhere close to the mark.

Those in authority who are bullies, or with such megalomaniacal tendencies as control-freakiness, are terrible, and their successes are always temporary and tainted and ultimately discrediting – these behaviours should entirely rule out of leadership roles their practitioners.

We need fewer people at the top of politics or business, with these traits – not more.

She also said, which is unassailable truth:

“… you want women in places where they can make a difference, because half the policy in this country is for us, but only about a tenth of it is by us.

“And if we do not stand up and put women in the epicentre of decision-making, whether it’s boardrooms, government boards, politics, cabinet rooms, wherever, if you don’t have women there, we will not exist.”

As Annabel Crabb says: “… a powerful, cogent, controversial woman who has worked like a bastard for many years to get to the top of an inhospitable system, a flawed and complicated woman …”.

* Some of my friends insist her comments/analysis aren’t feminist.
** And some of those who have said she operates like this are women, not solely sexist men.  No-one can easily claim they completely lack bias, in this instance, though.


Australia’s New Government

Photo: Veni Markovski

Photo: Veni Markovski

Malcolm Turnbull, Australia’s new Prime Minister, announced his first Ministry on Sunday 20 September 2015.  They will be sworn in on Monday.

There are many significant  changes, including:

  • An increase in the number of women in Cabinet from two to five (Michaelia Cash, Kelly O’Dwyer, Marise Payne will join Julie Bishop and Sussan Ley);
  • Joe Hockey, Bruce Billson, Eric Abetz, Ian Macfarlane, Kevin Andrews and Michael Ronaldson are all leaving the Ministry, some apparently volunteering to go
  • Former Treasurer Joe Hockey has advised he intends to leave parliament, which will create a by-election
  • Indigenous West Australian Ken Wyatt is Assistant Minister for Health
  • Arthur Sinodinos is not a Minister, but is Cabinet Secretary, a position previously abolished but now resuscitated
  • Scott Ryan will be the Assistant Cabinet Secretary

You can download the full list here:

Analysis worth reading, sort of, so far:



More? Women. Now?

7/8 of the women in the 2015 Queensland Cabinet - Coralee O'Rourke isn't in this shot

7/8 of the women in the 2015 Queensland Cabinet – Coralee O’Rourke isn’t in this shot

Very few people will disagree that politics needs to be more representative of the community – if we were truly choosing candidates on merit we would see more women politicians, more indigenous Australians, more migrants and their descendants, and proportionately fewer middle-aged, heterosexual, anglo men*.

After the 2015 Queensland State election, the Labor side of the Queensland Parliament is 37% women.  Overall the Queensland Parliament is 28% women.

Plus, Queensland has a woman Premier, a woman Deputy Premier, and eight out of 14 Cabinet members are women.  Overall, this is a world record: as far as I can find, never before in the history of Parliamentary democracy have elections thrown up a Government in which women are so strongly represented.

Never. Before.**

When Finland formed its 73rd Government eight months before the Palaszczuk Government took office, they had a majority of women in Cabinet.  I’m claiming a win for Queensland and Australia on the strength of women holding the two most senior positions*** while in Finland the Prime Minister and Deputy are men.

(The Bolivian Legislative Assembly is 49% women, Rwanda has 64%, Andorra has 50.0 %, Cuba 49% and Seychelles 44%:

So why isn’t the Queensland Government, at least, championing the current extraordinary crew of women role models in State Parliament, to encourage more diverse involvement in civic issues?


* Such as me.  We need less of me.  I’m over-represented in politics.
** If I’m wrong, tell me now, OK – my research resources are good, but not unlimited.
*** Finnophiles might argue that theirs is a national Government and Queensland’s is but a state, but my point is about the capacity of the democratic system to elect women leaders.