Skip to content Skip to main navigation

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?


Please login to post your comments, or connect with
33 Responses to
Why Giulia Jones should have Alistair Coe’s job
Filter
Showing only Website comments
Order
Newest to Oldest
Oldest to Newst
dungfungus 8:28 pm 17 Oct 16

Giulia who?

creative_canberran 7:44 pm 08 Oct 16

Garfield said :

They did well enough in the eyes of the public to be re-elected in 1998 despite the federal Liberal government cutting spending to get the budget under control. It’s my understanding that emergency and elective surgery waiting times were better then compared to the rest of the country than they are now after 15 years of Labor and everything I’ve heard about public transport passengers tells me they had a greater portion of residents using buses than Labor has managed. They also had more schools operating and I think the budget was in a better position. Any government will have some failures and in 15 years Labor have racked up quite a lot.

It’s difficult to draw links between some of those and government. For example older people are less likely to use public transport according to the ABS. The use more than halves with steadily with age. So the decline in public transport use under Labor could be transport policy, or because of an ageing population, or a bit of both.

You’re correct that by 1998 they had improved the budget position, and that was better than it is today. They turned a $300m+ deficit into only a $140m deficit. Quite a bit better than the current $232m in the red. In 1998 though the budget position had declined a bit compared to the previous year, but the projections were rosey. And they were up against Wayne ZZZZZZ Berry. So they had a bit going for them.

By 2001, the Liberal’s final year, they had achieved a surplus, the first in ACT history. But the budget situation was again deteriorating. They had to reduce the predicted deficit by over $30m, to a very small $12m. They also revised the trends way down. That was despite revenue still increasing. They damaged their expenses, offered tax cuts, still didn’t win.

Australians also tend not to vote out a first term government, at least they didn’t used to.

Acton 2:06 pm 08 Oct 16

Martin Luther King, Jr: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

I have a dream that one day we live in a city where aspiring journalists judge candidates by the content of their character, not the nature of their gender.

Affirmative Action Man 9:58 am 08 Oct 16

Here’s a tip Charlotte. Most people are more concerned with the quality of their candidates not their gender. Real diversity would mean pre selecting people who have achieved something in the community and come from diverse backgrounds. At the moment every candidate seems to be a lawyer, teacher, social worker, lobbyist, PR hack or have worked for another pollie or a union/employer group.

ricci 11:48 am 07 Oct 16

I went off Jones after she decided to go on a trip, with staffer, to one of Europe’s most expensive destinations after winning her first term as a MLA. Vikki Dunne did similar thing on numbers of occasions with her husband. They, along with Smythe, are simply sponging on the taxpayer. And Labor is not much better. A pox on both their houses.

Holden Caulfield 10:44 am 07 Oct 16

No_Nose said :

JC said :

Wonder if Giulia has improved her parking skills. God I miss the old Riotact parking photos, her vehicle appeared almost weekly!

Bring back the parking photos!

VOTE 1!

Aragornerama 9:50 am 07 Oct 16

TuggLife said :

Masquara said :

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.

Huh? You can’t be a feminist unless you support the sex industry? Since when?

Thats not what I said. She failed to engage with the very people her policy was going to impact. And I think it’s anti-women when that group is involved in very personal, intimate services, inherent to their sex.

I think you can’t be a feminist unless you support all women, not just those that fit a middle class conservative ideal of what women should be. Giulia Jones promotes soft feminism – breastfeeding in the chamber is great, but tokenistic, because she talks very little about actual policy that works towards increasing breastfeeding rates, beyond her own workplace.

Good post. My impression of Giulia is that she’s a feminist so long as the women in question are mothers. That’s not feminism…

Garfield 9:32 am 07 Oct 16

JC said :

Wonder if Giulia has improved her parking skills. God I miss the old Riotact parking photos, her vehicle appeared almost weekly!

They were quite fun to review, and yes Giulia’s vehicle appeared regularly.

Garfield 9:30 am 07 Oct 16

creative_canberran said :

Garfield said :

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.

That was their most successful, goodness that’s not saying much. She was kicked out, many of her flawed plans are not consigned to history or being used to support a shipping container village.

They did well enough in the eyes of the public to be re-elected in 1998 despite the federal Liberal government cutting spending to get the budget under control. It’s my understanding that emergency and elective surgery waiting times were better then compared to the rest of the country than they are now after 15 years of Labor and everything I’ve heard about public transport passengers tells me they had a greater portion of residents using buses than Labor has managed. They also had more schools operating and I think the budget was in a better position. Any government will have some failures and in 15 years Labor have racked up quite a lot.

No_Nose 6:51 am 07 Oct 16

JC said :

Wonder if Giulia has improved her parking skills. God I miss the old Riotact parking photos, her vehicle appeared almost weekly!

Bring back the parking photos!

TuggLife 10:30 pm 06 Oct 16

Masquara said :

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.

Huh? You can’t be a feminist unless you support the sex industry? Since when?

Thats not what I said. She failed to engage with the very people her policy was going to impact. And I think it’s anti-women when that group is involved in very personal, intimate services, inherent to their sex.

I think you can’t be a feminist unless you support all women, not just those that fit a middle class conservative ideal of what women should be. Giulia Jones promotes soft feminism – breastfeeding in the chamber is great, but tokenistic, because she talks very little about actual policy that works towards increasing breastfeeding rates, beyond her own workplace.

JC 7:44 pm 06 Oct 16

Wonder if Giulia has improved her parking skills. God I miss the old Riotact parking photos, her vehicle appeared almost weekly!

Related Articles

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

Top
Copyright © 2018 Riot ACT Holdings Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.
the-riotact.com | aboutregional.com.au | b2bmagazine.com.au | thisiscanberra.com

Search across the site