Rank and file de­cide on merit not gen­der

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - WORLD -

THE first wo­man elected to the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, Dame Enid Lyons, said in her maiden speech in 1943 that “any wo­man en­ter­ing the pub­lic arena must be pre­pared to work as men work. She must jus­tify her­self not as a wo­man but as a cit­i­zen. She must at­tack the same prob­lems, and be pre­pared to shoul­der the same bur­dens.” The cur­rent de­bate about pre­s­e­lec­tions in the Lib­eral Party, fol­low­ing Jane Pren­tice’s loss last week­end in the Bris­bane seat of Ryan, owes more to ques­tions of performance and com­pe­tence than they do to gen­der. I’ve writ­ten many times that the Lib­eral Party must do bet­ter when it comes to women in the par­lia­ment and, al­most more im­por­tantly, pick­ing up the fe­male vote in the elec­torate. But that doesn’t mean a “right” to a seat based on gen­der. Lib­eral pre­s­e­lec­tions are de­cided by rank-and-file mem­bers, so if you’ve done the work and per­formed in the par­lia­ment, pre­s­e­lec­tions are noth­ing to fear. If you’ve lost touch or not fo­cused on real-world is­sues, well that’s just the sort of judg­ment the party should de­liver be­fore the elec­torate does.

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