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leading while female

Julie Bishop, Linda Burney, Sarah Hanson-Young and Julia Banks

The last year has not been a good one for women in the Australian parliament. So what do those at the eye of the political storm have to say about leading while female?

Hosted by Jacqueline Maley. 

In the Concert Hall, our largest venue | View Seat Map


“My gender... doesn't explain everything, it doesn't explain nothing.”

Julia Gillard

why is it so hard to be a woman in politics? 

While some of our most popular politicians are women, they are still frequently overlooked for leadership positions, are subjected to personal scrutiny to a level not inflicted on their male colleagues, and they cop all sorts of sexist garbage while just trying to do their jobs. Yet women have a huge amount to contribute to public life, and our society would benefit from greater female representation in parliament. So what needs to change to make more women want to run for public office in Australia? Join this frank discussion between four of the most senior female politicians in the country, about the pitfalls and rewards of their jobs, and how we can shift the culture so girls who want to grow up to be PM are inspired, not discouraged.


More about Julie Bishop 

Julie Bishop has served as the Member for Curtin in the House of Representatives since 1998. She was Australia’s first female Foreign Minister serving from 18 September 2013 to 28 August 2018, following four years in the role of Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade. Ms Bishop was the Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party from December 2007 to August 2018. Most recently, Ms Bishop was awarded the inaugural U.S. Mission Award for Leadership Excellence, in honour of Eleanor Roosevelt.


More about Linda Burney 

Linda Burney was elected federal member for Barton in 2016, following a 14 year career in the NSW Parliament as Member for Canterbury. During her state political career she served as minister in a number of senior portfolios including as minister for Community Services and later as Deputy Leader of the Opposition. As a proud member of the Wiradjuri nation, Linda was the first Aboriginal person to be elected to the NSW Parliament and the first Aboriginal woman to serve in the Australian House of Representatives.  Linda’s commitment to Indigenous issues spans more than 30 years. 


More about Sarah Hanson-Young

Sarah Hanson-Young is the Australian Greens Senator for South Australia. When she was elected in 2007, she was the youngest person elected to the Senate and the youngest woman ever elected to Federal Parliament. Sarah has a background of activism and community campaigning in such areas as the environment, human rights and issues involving youth and women. Sarah was named a World Economic Forum, Young Global Leader in 2016 and her portfolios include Education, Finance & Trade, Water, Arts and Youth.


More about Julia Banks

Julia Banks was elected in the 2016 Federal Election as the Federal Member for Chisholm in the Australian House of Representatives. Julia is Chair of the Parliamentary Friends of Women’s Health, the Australia-China Friendship Group and the Parliamentary Friends of Greece. Prior to entering Parliament, Julia worked in the business and corporate world for over 25 years, beginning her career as a lawyer in private legal practice. 

More about Jacqueline Maley 

Jacqueline Maley is a columnist and senior writer for the Sydney Morning Herald and Age newspapers, where she writes about politics, people and social affairs. She has also worked on staff at The Guardian in London and The Australian Financial Review, as well as contributing to numerous other publications including Gourmet Traveller and Marie Claire. In 2016 she won the Kennedy Award for Outstanding Columnist.

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