She wore red too… Like Julia Banks before her and Julie Bishop before that. Minister Kelly O’Dwyer wore red today while announcing she won’t recontest the next election. One of the most senior women remaining in the Morrison Government, O’Dwyer explained calmly that her decision was driven by private and family reasons. The truth – or otherwise – of that claim will likely be picked and pulled apart by the media for the days to come.
Wearing red has become a symbol of silent protest amongst Coalition women. A protest against the tiny number of them who hold senior positions in the government. A protest against the continued threats to their preselection. A protest against the difficulty of winning that preselection in the first place. It cannot be easy for women in the Liberal Party right now, and perhaps it has never been. The Party has a problem they can no longer continue to sweep under the blue carpet of the ministerial wing.
It’s a problem that won’t be solved while we continue to lose women like Kelly O’Dwyer from parliamentary ranks. The purpose of a parliament is to be representative of the nation’s people and for that to be true, it has to include parents of young children. If we don’t have people with current and firsthand experience of the pressures that families are facing in the community, then we won’t get our law-making on behalf of those families right. And if the rest of the country is craving better work-family balance then those who make our laws need to have it too.
You might ask, if it’s all so hard then what about the Prime Minister Scott Morrison, or the Leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten? Why aren’t they resigning to be with their young families too? Why does it always seem to be the women who quit?