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Australian Politics (Essay Sample)


What does the story of women in Australian politics tell us about Australian democracy? Discuss in relation to either a historical example, such as woman suffrage, or women in Australian politics today.


Australian Politics
Professor Name:
(January 08, 2014)

Women Australian Politics
Participation of women in the Australian politics and democracy has significantly changed over the years, it has been noted that the Australia’s new Commonwealth Parliament in 1902 opened doors for women and a new form of democracy, through offering women a right to be elected and a right to vote on a national basis. It is argued that the Australia’s Suffragette movement made a significant victory in regards to the contribution of women to the Australian politics. Australian Suffragette movement faced stiff opposition; the law that offered women with rights to vote and to be elected was pegged on the Commonwealth Franchise Act 1902.
Surveys indicated that the neighboring country New Zealand had offered women with the rights to be elected and voting in 1893, while Australia had delayed up to 1902; this is an indication that the rights for women to vote and to be elected in Southern Australia were initiated in 1895 while the rights of women to vote and be elected in the Western Australia were initiated in 1899 (Big Black Dog Communications Pty Ltd et al., 2011). It has been noted that indigenous women were denied suffrage until in 1962 after the federal elections. Aboriginal women enjoyed suffrage as at 1894, particularly in South Australia (Sawer & Simms, 1993).
A well recognized woman is known as Edith Cowan, who was a leading suffrage member; she was the first woman in Australia to be elected into the parliament in 1921. Cowan was elected in the Legislative Assembly in Western Australia. This was a significant breakthrough for women in Australia (Sawer & Simms, 1993). Surveys indicated that it took the next twenty two years for women to find a position in the federal parliament. It is argued that the time lag for women to breakthrough into the federal parliament was one of the longest reflecting on Western countries (Big Black Dog Communications Pty Ltd et al., 2011).
First nominations for women in Australia dated back to 1903, women were part of the candidates that took part in the national parliament elections, and Australia was a British empire. The four women that took part in the national parliament elections were nominated. Three of the women managed to get a Senate position while one of the women managed to get a position in the House of Representatives (Sawer & Simms, 1993).
Vida Goldstein was a woman many Australians considered as an electoral pioneer, she took part in three Senate elections dating 1903, 1910 and in 1917. Goldstein also took part in the House of Representatives in 1913 and also in 1914 (Big Black Dog Communications Pty Ltd et al., 2011). The major setback is that she did not succeed in the national elections. Goldstein was a vocal campaigner particularly on matters that affected women in the society. Issues she attended included equal pay for men and women, equal work for men and women, adjustments in basic wage, equal rights for property of spouses and on issues of child labor among others (Sawer & Simms, 1993).
The vote for women in Western Australia started to be felt in the society mainly between 1910 and in 1920. The time was characterized by equitable divorce laws for men and women. Women established King Edward Memorial Hospital as the medical facility to cater for the needs and wants of women in Australia (Sawer & Simms, 1993). In the same period, women justices were allowed into the bench, both in children’s courts and in the adult courts. In the same period, equal pay between men and women was offered to female musicians and barmaids among other professions in the Australian communities (Big Black Dog Communications Pty Ltd et al., 2011).
Edith Cowan in 1921 to 1925 and May Holman in 1925 to 1939 were influential women in fighting for the rights of women and children in the society. Cowan faced stereotyping but she came out as a parliamentarian who was forceful in attaining her agendas for the rights of women and children in the society (Big Black Dog Communications Pty Ltd et al., 2011). Cowan facilitated the Women’s Legal Status Act, the Act was influential in letting women participate in law within Australia. Her name stands strong in the society, and Edith Cowan University based in Perth was named after Cowan to remember her contribution to the Australian society (Sawer & Simms, 1993).
May Holman was a Labor parliamentarian; she was influential in the facilitation of the Timber Industries Regulation Act which took place in 1926. May was influential in the Australian Women’s movement (Sawer & Simms, 1993). Florence Cardell-Oliver was influential between 1936 and 1956; Cardell-Oliver was the president in the well renowned Western Australian Nationalist Women’s Movement. In 1936, she managed to win the Subiaco State seat, and held in the position for twenty years (Big Black Dog Communications Pty Ltd et al., 2011). Cardell-Oliver interests were on poor families on children’s health. In 1949, Cardell-Oliver managed to be a Minister for Health, which was a full cabinet rank. She facilitated the school milk scheme, which contributed to a healthy population of children in Australia (Sawer & Simms, 1993).
In New South Wales, Millicent Preston-Stanley was influential in 1925, she was considered to be a realist, currently it is argued that more than seven hundred women have taken part in the NSW parliament. Helen Sham-Ho held the position from 1988 to 2003, she was Chinese by birth. Janice Crosio served at the three levels of the government as an executive. Linda Burney, in 2003 won the Canterbury seat in the NSW parliament, she was the first Aboriginal woman holding on the position (Big Black Dog Communications Pty Ltd et al., 2011).
Irene Longman was influential in Queensland in 1929; she was endorsed by the Queensland Women’s Electoral League and Country-National Party. Longman was influential in facilitating women take positions on the Queensland police force...
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