BILL Shorten today vowed to boost female representation in the party, pledging at least half of all Labor MPs would be women within 10 years, in a bid to embarrass the Abbott government over the scarcity of Coalition female front benchers.
The Opposition Leader used his speech to the ALP national conference underscore the gender equality issue by paying tribute to his women colleagues and attacking a Coalition he said was living in the past.
He further underlined the point with glowing references to Deputy Leader Taya Plibersek and relatively junior shadow ministers Sharon Bird and Kate Ellis before getting to senior male MPs.
Mr Shorten also attacked the government of Prime Minister Tony Abbott by scoffing at what he called a “flat Earthers” view on climate change.
And when Ms Plibersek lead applause on his promise to install an ETS Mr Shorten paused to say, “You can see why I like her.”
He has previously supported a target for women in Parliament but the speech at the conference was his strongest hid to see it accepted as an official party objective.
“Let us end the debilitating gender divide. Because if Australia can lead the way in equality for women then we will truly be the richest nation in the world,” said Mr Shorten.
“Rich in every sense of the word.
“Our goal should be nothing less than the equal participation of women in work … equal pay for women at work … and an equal voice for women across our parliament.
“So let this Conference declare, by 2025 … 50 per cent of Labor’s representatives will be women. Only in a society where men and women are treated equally, can the true potential of women and men be achieved.”
Under a banner shouting “Advance Australia”, Mr Shorten accused the “erratic indulgent” Abbott government of being backward looking with its “knee-high hopes for Australia”.
“Mr Abbott is a throwback to a world that never existed. Out of his depth, and out of touch,” he said.
“Australians deserve better than a Prime Minister who wants to make them afraid of the future.”
Mr Shorten also laid out his own philosophy should he gain government.
“And never has the contrast between us and our opponents been more clear. Be it jobs, health, education or energy,” he said.
“Never has the choice between a Labor Party planning for the future, and a Liberal Party stuck in the past been more stark.
“Never has it been more urgent for Australian society to put aside the old politics of division …
… and the narrow advocacy of vested interests.
“Never has it been more important for all of us here today. To stand together, to face the future, to offer ourselves as a Labor Government, for all Australians.”
SOURCE: NEWS.com.au, 24/07/2015, http://www.news.com.au/finance/work/bill-shorten-pledges-to-end-the-gend...