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Why Giulia Jones should have Alistair Coe’s job

By Charlotte Harper - 6 October 2016 33

Giulia Jones

Yesterday, the woman who should be deputy leader of the Canberra Liberals was up for a national award for leadership in government and public service.

Whether she won or not is neither here nor there for the purposes of this opinion piece, but for the record, ACT Shadow Minister for Women, Mental Health, Multicultural Affairs and Emergency Services Giulia Jones was beaten to the podium by a Federation University of Australia deputy vice chancellor Marcia Devlin.

Why do I think Mrs Jones should be Opposition Leader Jeremy Hanson’s deputy? There are a couple of reasons, neither of which relate to incumbent Alistair Coe’s performance in the role. Mr Coe is doing a fine job. But he’s a bloke like his boss, and the Liberals need to appeal to the many powerful women in this town as well as the powerful men if they want to get elected. They must appeal to more women in general. They should be providing role models and pathways for up and coming women politicians and for young women and girls who may one day follow in their footsteps.

Jeremy Hanson with Jessica Adelan-Langford

The Canberra Liberals are on the right track on this front having attracted a field of impressive women candidates such as Elizabeth Lee (below), Amanda Lynch, Annette Fazey-Southwell and Jessica Adelan-Langford, above with Mr Hanson, who has commented on more than one occasion that this is an issue of great importance to him personally.

Elizabeth Lee

But the Libs’ campaign launch on Tuesday evening was a shocker on the gender equity front, though lively and engaging otherwise. Every one of the speakers was a man, from campaign director Daniel Clode who warmed the crowd up before official proceedings got under way, to president Arthur Potter, Mr Coe, Mr Hanson and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. The only time a woman was called up on to the stage was towards the end, when Mr Hanson’s wife Fleur was asked to do barrel girl duties, drawing the raffle.

It was a stark contrast to Labor’s launch, which featured stirring speeches from former Chief Minister Katy Gallagher and current Deputy Federal Leader Tanya Plibersek as well as Chief Minister Andrew Barr.

From a marketing perspective, the male leader, female deputy combination is a winning one on both sides of politics. At recent ACT elections, we have seen Ms Gallagher with Mr Barr and Jon Stanhope with Ms Gallagher. Federally, the conservatives have the gender balance right. Julie Bishop and Mr Turnbull, Fiona Nash and Barnaby Joyce. So too the progressives, with Bill Shorten and Tanya Plibersek for Labor, and Richard Di Natale plus co-deputies Larissa Waters and Scott Ludlam for the Greens.

ACT Labor have been in a bit of a fix themselves on this front since Ms Gallagher left the Assembly mid-term. The steady hand of Simon Corbell was useful at a time when the two most promising future women leaders, Yvette Berry (below left) and Meegan Fitzharris (below right), were too green to step up.

Yvette Berry and Meegan Fitzharris

Mr Barr and Mr Corbell have worked hard on succession planning since. Ms Fitzharris seems set to take on the senior portfolios of education and health after the election whether in government or as a shadow minister, having understudied to the departing Mr Corbell in health and transport in recent months. It is clear she is being groomed as a future leader. Ms Berry is considered the most likely choice for party deputy given she is of the Left and Mr Barr is from the Right faction. This does not necessarily mean she will be deputy chief minister if Labor wins office. If Labor requires the support of the Greens to govern, it’s possible the minor party could demand that role for Shane Rattenbury. Yes, unlikely, I know, but it’s an interesting thought, isn’t it?

If Labor govern in their own right, caucus will decide who is deputy. Could they be considering appointing Ms Fitzharris and Ms Berry as co-deputy chief ministers if re-elected given the size of the expanded Assembly?

But back to the Liberals. Leaving gender aside for a moment, it seems pretty clear that the best deputies are those who, like Federal Liberal deputy Ms Bishop, have no designs on their boss’s job. My sources assure me Mr Coe does not fit into this category, though one would assume that Mr Hanson’s job will be safe for at least one term if he does what no other Liberal leader has been able to do this past 15 years and ousts his rivals.

So, if I were Mr Coe, I’d have stepped aside to allow Mrs Jones to step up some months ago in a bid to boost the party’s chances of winning government next week. Doing so would also have allowed him to focus on the challenges he will face as a first-time treasurer and chief light rail contract ripper-upper if the Liberals win government. It would have allowed him to spend more time with his young family, too (why is it that women politicians are always expected to spend more time with their young families but the men are not?).

Now, back to that leadership award. Mrs Jones made the final four in the emerging female leader in the government/public sector category of the Women’s Agenda awards in recognition of her efforts to provide more inclusive facilities and practices for parents working at the ACT Legislative Assembly. The winner would be “the emerging leader in the public sector who can best demonstrate growth, disruption and inclusivity in her field during the 12 months from July 1, 2015”. The judges selected university administrator Marcia Devlin, as mentioned earlier.

I applaud Mrs Jones on reaching the final four, and on her achievements for women in the Assembly to date. Here she is talking about one of them during the last sitting period in August:

What’s Your opinion?


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33 Responses to
Why Giulia Jones should have Alistair Coe’s job
justin heywood 12:58 pm 06 Oct 16

Madam Cholet said :

…has anyone noticed Katy’s meteoric rise in her federal party compared to Zed, who after at least a year longer on the other side is still languishing as a bit part back room dealer?

You should surely be aware that a ‘meteoric rise’ in politics does not equate to ‘talented’. It’s more a reflection of the company you keep and your marketing value. Witness Stephen Conroy, Peter Garret, Nova Peris, Wyatt Roy etc.

If only promotion in politics WAS merit-based.

Kim F 12:52 pm 06 Oct 16

TuggLife said :

I think Jones’s feminist credentials were called into question when she elected to go on a European junket rather than actually consult with Canberra sex workers, and promoting a prudish and paternalistic view of sex work, that was likely to put women at risk by criminalising clients.

She’s just Zed in different clothing.

This – another with her nose in the trough!

Kent Street 12:31 pm 06 Oct 16

Madam Cholet said :

He’s a product of the Young Liberals who think it is their God-given right to have these positions regardless of experience

As opposed to Union officials who think it is their God-given right to have these positions regardless of experience

Garfield 11:56 am 06 Oct 16

Charlotte Harper said :

Garfield said :

Charlotte Harper said :

dungfungus said :

Anyone who is as passionate about “gender equity” as you appear to be is going to vote Labor anyhow so it’s sort of pointless to make it an election issue, especially when there are more important things to analyse and comment on.

Wow, that’s a big generalisation. I think you’ll find plenty of Liberals, Greens and minor party/independent voters care about gender equity, not just Labor voters. For the record, I have yet to decide how I’ll vote. I am extremely privileged this year to have the opportunity to meet and talk in detail with candidates in my electorate of Kurrajong through my work and will be listening to and doing follow-up research on what they have all have to say before I make a final decision as I walk into the ballot box. I haven’t voted in line with a how to vote card since 1993. Journalism will do that to you.

If you want to see a highly capable woman in a leadership position in the Canberra Liberals in the not too distant future, you should probably vote for Elizabeth Lee in Kurrajong. I’d rate her much more highly than Giulia Jones, and Elizabeth is not from the far right of the Libs.

You’ll note I mentioned Ms Lee in the article and included a photograph of her. I am looking forward to talking further with her for the candidate bake-off tomorrow morning.
Yes, Mrs Jones like Mr Coe is from the more conservative side of the Libs. I see there is a report in The Canberra Times today that she was a guest speaker recently at a forum organised by an anti-marriage equality, anti-abortion organisation. But I think the Canberra Libs would be unlikely to agree to both their leader and deputy leader being moderates. Maybe we’ll see Mr Coe as leader and Ms Lee as his deputy one day. Or vice versa.

The Canberra Liberals most successful period was with Kate Carnell (moderate) as leader and Gary Humphries (moderate) as deputy, so it has happened before. Depending on which Liberals get elected to the Assembly by the public this time, it could happen again.

Charlotte Harper 11:35 am 06 Oct 16

Madam Cholet said :

Ha ha! Alastair Coe stand aside for a potential greater good? He’s a product of the Young Liberals who think it is their God-given right to have these positions regardless of experience. His only expectation is to be Chief Minister, I’d expect that if the Libs lose, he will be sticking the knife into Jeremy quite quickly, although it might be a lingering death. He was part of the original Zed Seselja coup. If he did do that, he may well tolerate Guilia as deputy.

Pray that he does, otherwise he’s another ‘inexperienced in normal life’ politician who will be back on the streets looking for a high paid position in the private sector.

On another note, has anyone noticed Katy’s meteoric rise in her federal party compared to Zed, who after at least a year longer on the other side is still languishing as a bit part back room dealer?

Ms Gallagher has had a swift rise into senior roles in Opposition (she is Shadow Minister for Mental Health and for Small Business and Financial Services as well as Manager of Opposition Business in the Senate), but in fact Mr Seselja was promoted into the junior ministry after the election, so not in the back room anymore. He’s Assistant Minister for Social Services and Multicultural Affairs, and therefore the most senior Canberra Liberal ever on the hill.

Charlotte Harper 11:25 am 06 Oct 16

Garfield said :

Charlotte Harper said :

dungfungus said :

Anyone who is as passionate about “gender equity” as you appear to be is going to vote Labor anyhow so it’s sort of pointless to make it an election issue, especially when there are more important things to analyse and comment on.

Wow, that’s a big generalisation. I think you’ll find plenty of Liberals, Greens and minor party/independent voters care about gender equity, not just Labor voters. For the record, I have yet to decide how I’ll vote. I am extremely privileged this year to have the opportunity to meet and talk in detail with candidates in my electorate of Kurrajong through my work and will be listening to and doing follow-up research on what they have all have to say before I make a final decision as I walk into the ballot box. I haven’t voted in line with a how to vote card since 1993. Journalism will do that to you.

If you want to see a highly capable woman in a leadership position in the Canberra Liberals in the not too distant future, you should probably vote for Elizabeth Lee in Kurrajong. I’d rate her much more highly than Giulia Jones, and Elizabeth is not from the far right of the Libs.

You’ll note I mentioned Ms Lee in the article and included a photograph of her. I am looking forward to talking further with her for the candidate bake-off tomorrow morning.
Yes, Mrs Jones like Mr Coe is from the more conservative side of the Libs. I see there is a report in The Canberra Times today that she was a guest speaker recently at a forum organised by an anti-marriage equality, anti-abortion organisation. But I think the Canberra Libs would be unlikely to agree to both their leader and deputy leader being moderates. Maybe we’ll see Mr Coe as leader and Ms Lee as his deputy one day. Or vice versa.

Adsy 11:24 am 06 Oct 16

I’m not sure if Ms Jones’ socially conservative views on reproductive rights and marriage equality would be very appealing to many female ACT voters!
See this: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/act-election-2016/liberal-mla-was-keynote-speaker-for-antisamesex-marriage-abortion-group-20161003-grtm80.html

Garfield 11:00 am 06 Oct 16

Charlotte Harper said :

dungfungus said :

Anyone who is as passionate about “gender equity” as you appear to be is going to vote Labor anyhow so it’s sort of pointless to make it an election issue, especially when there are more important things to analyse and comment on.

Wow, that’s a big generalisation. I think you’ll find plenty of Liberals, Greens and minor party/independent voters care about gender equity, not just Labor voters. For the record, I have yet to decide how I’ll vote. I am extremely privileged this year to have the opportunity to meet and talk in detail with candidates in my electorate of Kurrajong through my work and will be listening to and doing follow-up research on what they have all have to say before I make a final decision as I walk into the ballot box. I haven’t voted in line with a how to vote card since 1993. Journalism will do that to you.

If you want to see a highly capable woman in a leadership position in the Canberra Liberals in the not too distant future, you should probably vote for Elizabeth Lee in Kurrajong. I’d rate her much more highly than Giulia Jones, and Elizabeth is not from the far right of the Libs.

switch 10:57 am 06 Oct 16

TuggLife said :

She’s just Zed in different clothing.

Zed with a zee?

Madam Cholet 10:46 am 06 Oct 16

Ha ha! Alastair Coe stand aside for a potential greater good? He’s a product of the Young Liberals who think it is their God-given right to have these positions regardless of experience. His only expectation is to be Chief Minister, I’d expect that if the Libs lose, he will be sticking the knife into Jeremy quite quickly, although it might be a lingering death. He was part of the original Zed Seselja coup. If he did do that, he may well tolerate Guilia as deputy.

Pray that he does, otherwise he’s another ‘inexperienced in normal life’ politician who will be back on the streets looking for a high paid position in the private sector.

On another note, has anyone noticed Katy’s meteoric rise in her federal party compared to Zed, who after at least a year longer on the other side is still languishing as a bit part back room dealer?

Charlotte Harper 10:33 am 06 Oct 16

dungfungus said :

Anyone who is as passionate about “gender equity” as you appear to be is going to vote Labor anyhow so it’s sort of pointless to make it an election issue, especially when there are more important things to analyse and comment on.

Wow, that’s a big generalisation. I think you’ll find plenty of Liberals, Greens and minor party/independent voters care about gender equity, not just Labor voters. For the record, I have yet to decide how I’ll vote. I am extremely privileged this year to have the opportunity to meet and talk in detail with candidates in my electorate of Kurrajong through my work and will be listening to and doing follow-up research on what they have all have to say before I make a final decision as I walk into the ballot box. I haven’t voted in line with a how to vote card since 1993. Journalism will do that to you.

Charlotte Harper 10:18 am 06 Oct 16
TuggLife 9:14 am 06 Oct 16

I think Jones’s feminist credentials were called into question when she elected to go on a European junket rather than actually consult with Canberra sex workers, and promoting a prudish and paternalistic view of sex work, that was likely to put women at risk by criminalising clients.

She’s just Zed in different clothing.

dungfungus 8:39 am 06 Oct 16

Anyone who is as passionate about “gender equity” as you appear to be is going to vote Labor anyhow so it’s sort of pointless to make it an election issue, especially when there are more important things to analyse and comment on.

Mordd / Chris Richar 3:20 am 06 Oct 16

Fantastic article, 100% agree.

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