Lodi News-Sentinel

Women fed up with flagrant sexism could swing Australia’s election

- Keira Wright

Women in Australia have endured more than a year of shocking allegation­s of misconduct from inside their nation’s parliament revealing a culture that has normalized sexual violence and humiliatio­n.

Now they’re set to channel months of simmering rage at the ballot box.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s conservati­ve government is trailing in polls ahead of a May 21 election, a slump that started around February last year when former staffer Brittany Higgins alleged that she was raped in Parliament House. In a trend that should rattle the Liberal-National coalition, the decline has been largely and steadily driven by female voters.

Data from pollsters Roy Morgan exclusive to Bloomberg show a clear divergence in voting intentions between men and women since early 2021. The gap in female support for the two main parties has more than doubled to 16 percentage points, in favor of the opposition Labor party. While a majority of male voters are also supporting Labor, the gap is just 3 percentage points.

“I really do firmly believe that this election will be determined by women,” said Janine Hendry, the academic and businesswo­man who organized marches that were attended by more than 110,000 people across Australia in the wake of the rape scandal and other reports of sexual assault by men in power.

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