“We’re going backwards”: Julia Gillard speaks out about the gender gap in parliament 201



View Profile

It’s been a hot topic in parliament this week, and someone who knows all too well about the gender gap has spoken up.

Our former prime minister Julia Gillard says she believes Australia has gone backwards as other nations have closed the gender gap in terms of representation of women in parliament, and that the issue must be continued to be addressed by both Labor and Liberal.

There’s now pressure from female government MPs for the Liberal party to increase their female numbers to 50 per cent by 2025 after it was revealed just how many men there are on the front line – 75 per cent.

At the launch of the ANZ Women’s Initiative, a program aimed at closing the gender gap in the workplace, Gillard said female representation in Australian parliaments had declined since she was in office.

“We’ve gone backwards as other nations have gone ahead,” Gillard said.

“So when you compare Australia with other countries, Australia has declined in the rankings for women in parliament from 20th in the world in 2001 to 48th in 2014″.

“I do note that these statistics particularly point to insufficient numbers of women on the conservative side of politics and that must be addressed even as my own political party seeks to do more and get better and better”, Ms Gillard said.

Julie Bishop had some more curt things to say on the matter, and remained realistic about achieving equality in parliament.


“Why not aim for 50% if it’s to be truly representative?” she asked. “I don’t think setting quotas that are abandoned when it doesn’t suit male union bosses to take a seat should be necessarily the answer.”

Tell us, do you think that parliament will have more women as the years go by? Is it truly appealing to be a woman in government?


Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. I don’t think women should get a job just because she is a woman but she should be given the chance to go for it.

  2. She is definitely right, most things started going backwards when she got in. As our 1st female PM she was going to do so much for woman, now they are feeling the backlash of her failure

    1 REPLY
    • Trevor John Rogash it wasn’t PM Gillards failure that was the problem, it was the mysogynistic behaviour of the male and female MP’s in the Liberal Party. It is a well known fact that Abbott cannot stand women holding a high office in Parliament. After all women belong in the kitchen don’t they????
      Just count how many women are on the front bench in the current Parliament. I’m not ready to believe that men are superior to women in any capacity. I sincerely hope you don’t have a daughter as with your attitude she will never succeed. And seeing you’re talking about our 1st and probably only female Prime Minister at least use the correct word. It’s WOMEN (plural) not Woman (singular). At least being a lowly female I am educated.

      1 REPLY
      • What about Jilie Bishop? She is doing an excellent job.

  3. It is not only the gender gap that has gone backward, the whole country has since Abbott came into power

    15 REPLY
    • you bet I am David Camp but I am not talking as a supporter of anyone I am only talking about the facts that we have seen so far, nothing but lies, secrecy, deception and rorting. That does not make for a good Government

    • another braindead moron comment

      1 REPLY
      • Well Bill Bee I’d be inclined to call Liberal supporters brain dead morons myself. Perhaps you don’t understand that Tones has doubled the deficit in 18 months. Maybe because only intelligent people vote Labor you can only denigrate Labor voters because as a Liberal voter you have no valid arguments. Well good luck for next year you’ll need it!!!

    • Libbi you live in a dream it was Labor that put Australia in a great mess and Gillard with her mate Rudd were the cause of it and Gillard told lie after lie thats why they called her julair so wake up

      1 REPLY
      • Larry Attenborough you are joking of course???? PM Gillard supposedly told ONE lie re the carbon tax and to date good old Tones has told over 150-200!!!!!
        Remember no cuts to the ABC and SBS-a lie, committed to building 12 subs in Adelaide-a lie, we will not shut Medicare locals- a lie, taxes will always be lower under the Libs- a lie, no cuts to education, health or pensions-a lie, will create one million jobs- a lie, there will be no deals with independents and minor parties-a lie, we will protect jobs- a lie (unemployment highest in 12 years) no change to school funding- a lie, child care will be more affordable under the coalition- a lie, reduce the cost of living- a lie, there will be no fewer nurses, doctors in hospitals- a lie, car manufacturing will flourish- a lie, we will support the National Disability Insurance Scheme-a lie.
        I want to be known as the Prime Minister who keeps commitments!!
        Give me a break! He also wanted to be a Prime Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and promptly closed Aboriginal Communities in WA.
        I’m running out of space to comment on all the other lies Abbott has told but there has NEVER been such a divisive Govt in power in Australia’s history. I haven’t even mentioned the lies he’s told over stopping the boats and the damage he’s done to Australia’s reputation on the world stage on our treatment of refugees. The Libs have doubled the deficit in 18 months and have no idea of fixing the budget or taking Australia forward. You need to wake up Larry and stop believing the far right wing propaganda you read in the Murdoch press.

    • Omg people, let it go: ‘my dick is bigger than your dick’ rave doesn’t do any good. Judge each party on what is good for the country not what political propaganda is sold to you.

    • The decent towards Julia was a political party rant with no substance and lib voters would jump on board but have absolutely no idea what it was all about. To this day no one has been able to tell me what she did so wrong to be treated the way she was, they wouldn’t have behaved that way to a male, disgraceful.

      Back to the subject, I think it is important to have the right people in the jobs irrespective of gender but a 50 50 balance would be a good objective.

    • Libbi Elliot, are you always confused, it appears you have given an apt description of the previous Labor Government

    • Bill Bee – “braindead moron”? Looking in the mirror? No seriously what a useless comment. If you want to comment then make reasoned comments rather than attacking/abusing a previous commenter. And no I am not a Labor voter or a Liberal voter.

    • thanks Robert Hind , I just let them ramble on spewing venom, it certainly makes me even all the more determined never to vote Liberal

    • Libby how can you say that. The only thing going backward is the amount we are borrowing. If Labor hadn’t been a spendthrift then we would all be in a better place financially.

  4. So much damage done by Julia, not only to the country but to Women in general. It is going to take some execptional women to win back the voters.

    5 REPLY
    • n one bishop (Bronny) isn’t helping n the other one (Julie Bishop MP) is. But what I do THINK in both these instances is that Bronwyn and Julie Bishop MP are both behaving like “PEOPLE” not “FEMALES” – Bronny I think that perhaps you are from the age of the “entitled”. Julie Bishop MP I agree with what you are saying but watch the media turn it into a “cat” fight.

    • No Trish, so much damage was done to her by the media and it is untrue that Labor left with a huge deficit – there was a deficit but Treasury and quite a few with the proper credentials disputed the figures that Hockey fog-horned all around the country. Just take a quick look to see how this present Government has nearly trebled the deficit in such a short time.

    • If a woman is the best person for the Job then sure Give it to her. But, Respect is earned and should not be expected / demanded just because you are a woman. If anyone knows such a woman in federal politics who can represent all Voters (both men and woman) honestly and fairly please”Sing her Song” It does not matter to me what party she represents as I am a swinging voter.

  5. It’s gone backwards because Gillard was a disgrace as a PM. She played the “poor female/feminist” card – just as Goodes plays the “racist” card – I don’t disapprove of Gillard’s behaviour because she is a female any more that I disapprove of Goodes’ reaction to HIS actions because of his race. I DISAPPROVE of the behaviour of BOTH because they USE this to portray themselves as VICTIMS which takes away from those who REALLY are. I don’t care is Gillard is male of female – I don’t care if Goodes is black or white – my OPINION of THEIR ACTIONS would be the same.

    19 REPLY
    • They are not portraying themselves as victims. They are victims – victims of the bigots in our society. The rights of bigots to be bigots exceeds the rights of the victims of bigotry to not be the victims of bigotry. What are you suggesting – the victims of bigotry instead of talking about it, man up, buy guns and shoot the bigots?

    • mate I AM a victim of bigotry – have been just about all my life BUT THOSE BIGOTS do not define WHO I am NOR do they DECIDE my Actions OR MY reactions to their bigotry – I AM A BIGOT – I AM Bigoted AGAINST BIGOTS – I’m actually not trying to be funny here I am serious I HATE BIGOTRY BEHAVIOUR which makes me a BIGOT. I’m still not trying to be funny BUT I did find this a wee bit ironic. Years ago I worked with a lad who was a “reborn Christian” he was trying to convert our young receptionist – His exact words – “everyone is welcomne at our church – except Catholics – because they are bigots 🙂 go figure” All the world is mad ….. etc etc

    • Don’t kid yourselves….we are all bigots and a bit racist deep down. However, it cuts all ways. I try and take everyone as I find them regardless of who or what they are.

    • robina – i Am impotent and have no legs to stand on – so your point is and ah by the way who are u to tell anyone what to do – sorry mate u are of no importance to me whatsoever but if it makes you feel important we good for u – have a nice day 🙂

    • i would like 70% of pollies to be women …AS LONG AS THEY ARE THE BEST 70% FOR THE JOB .BEST CANDIDATE GETS THE JOB ..quotas are a sexist insult to both genders

    • well you are a very lucky person if you can not see any wrong in what is happening in Goodes case & the way julia was treated….go bury your head a bit deeper…i hope you go thru life with no problems….but until you walk in someones shoes, you have no idea

    • Well IMHO, Gillard wasn’t a particularly good PM, but most of her problems revolved around a dysfunctional ALP. I think she really got a bad rap from the media and shock jocks like Alan Jones….

    • I agree Gillard was not a good PM in fact she was not truthful in many decisions she made from stabbing Rudd in the back to lies and promises she could not keep. The way she behaved in Parliment was not the way I would expect a woman let alone PM to behave. Why is ‘it starts at 60’ dragging her back into view?

    • Peggy I am not a mind reader . But let me tell you , assuming that everyone is , and ranting incoherently is not the way to catch people’s attention, Or to make a point! Best thing is to stay calm and stop shouting. Maybe she could preface her rants with ” gee I’ve had a tough time” so that gives me the right to be whatever to anyone . No it does not work like that. It is patronising to allow it to go unchecked.

    • I believe Gillard will be seen as one of the best Prime Ministers Australia has seen. With a minority government she was able to negotiate and argue with the cross bench to get support for her tremendous amount of legislation through both Houses of Parliament. Abbott couldn’t get his first Budget through nor his second as he doesn’t know how to discuss, present an argument in his favour nor tell the truth about anything before nor after an election. The skill base of the Cabinet is very low indeed. Even the Speaker of the House doesn’t know when it’s time to go!

    • Trish what was said and done to PM Gillard was purely because she was a woman and Abbott couldn’t stand the fact that he lost to a woman. Pure and simple. Deal with it.

  6. Oh dear . So many negative comments against Julie. Women have a right to be represented. Why so much feeling for the superiority of male decisions.

    7 REPLY
    • Thats correct But They still have to be the Best Person for the Job Not get the job just because they are a woman. Also they need to earn respect NOT just expect it because they are a woman. If anyone knows such a woman in federal politics please let me and the rest of the country know.

    • Julia Bishop, our Foreign Minister, is an absolute pleasure to watch as she goes about her ministerial duties. Well educationed and with full knowledge of her brief. Wish there were more women of her ilk, not just quotas, no matter how dumb, to make up the female numbers. You do women no service at all to use them as token politicians. We’ve had the nodding heads during the Labor government and it didn’t work at all.

    • No person has any right on earth …. Just privileges. The world is in strive since we all have rights

    • Oh dear what does it take to realise that its not gender its the best person for the job. Taje shorten for instance hes not the bestnperson at all. Albanese is..l

  7. Sadly your own example of how to perform was lacking in inspiration, integrity and accountability that you should simply shut -up and fade to black. You have set back the cause of women years!

  8. She was the worst prime minister we had . She was useless and left this country in so much debt she should be hanging her head shame

    5 REPLY
    • Linda do some reading up on internalised Misogyny. You will be staring at yourself and you may not like what you see. Hang your head in shame perhaps. And by the way, have you actually checked to see what has happened to our debt? Mmmm I thought not! Talk about useless.

    • Robina burns I believe women should be given positions on ability ,not by back stabbing which is exactly what she did . I have no problems with any of my comments because they are in My opinion all true . You of course are entitled to yours also ,but I didn’t attack you . Maybe you should be the one to hang the head honey .

    • Oh Linda, you must be under the illusion that females have been equally included from day one of white male power in this country, or any other country for that matter ‘honey’! Nice language. Don’t on any account try to find out how women have been co opted to support men in all their glory. Internalised Misogyny. Women standing under signs saying “ditch the Bitch”, “Gillard is Bob Brown’s Bitch” women delighting in the vilification of a woman because she had red hair, that she deserved to be drowned, that her pubic hair and genitals featured in Pickering cartoons using Dildos to define her as something evil, that the Liberal Party included references to her genitals in a menu! Conservative women stood for this, that is a fact, not a ‘true opinion’ whatever the hell that means ‘honey’!!!! Conservative men stood by and let the women haters in their ranks do the dirty work. It didn’t take much effort, as men are quick to spot a female misogynist. Lesson 101 in how internalised Misogyny manifests. You can do the rest.

      1 REPLY
      • Well said Robina Burns. Finally someone with a brain.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *