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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 ...
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