The countdown to election day is on and because the Coalition’s held power for almost a decade, this is Australia’s big chance for change. So we’re here to help you understand and compare each major party’s promises and policies for women and gender equality and lay it all out without the political spin.
NOTE: promises are often broken so we’ve also prepared a little look back at the voting track records of Scott Morrison, Anthony Albanese and Adam Bandt — because what they do speaks louder than their words.
We’ll compare the Coalition, Labor and the Greens’ policies on all the issues important to young people.
We’ve narrowed them down to: climate change, the cost of living and housing, women’s rights, LGBTQIA+ rights, First Nations rights, mental health and education.
This is a flaming hot topic after 2021: the year that shit hit the fan and parliament had its own #MeToo reckoning sparked by Brittany Higgins‘ allegations of rape.
It should have spurred real, fundamental change. While it changed the conversation, the government did fuck all to fix the systemic issues and just ignored, denied and fumbled its way through.
The polls tell us women are fed up with Morrison. But do they have more time for Labor or the Greens? Let’s dive in to what they’re pledging.
The Coalition’s Women’s Policy
This year the Morrison government “celebrated” women by celebrating women’s employment rates.
When Treasurer Josh Frydenberg handed down the federal budget in March he said “more women [were] in work than ever before,” ‘cos we are all girlbosses.
And the Liberals’ Supporting Australian Women policy says pretty much the same stuff. Jobs jobs jobs are up first ‘cos if women aren’t doing the ironing, we’d better make them pay income tax.
Even when talking about childcare costs the motivation for reducing them was to make more women work. Maybe I don’t even want to work, ever think about that!
The policy does mention the gender pay gap, which sits at 13.8 per cent in Australia, but only that it has lowered slightly during their time in power. No, they don’t have a plan to lower it further.
The Morrison government has tried to show it’s heard women’s concerns over the past 12 months and pledged $1.3 billion over six years “to drive change for women’s safety” which, I don’t know if it’s just me, but sent a transphobic chill up my spine given what’s happened during this election campaign.
When this pledge was announced it March it was spruiked as a domestic violence support package but now that language has been mostly removed or buried down the bottom??? This package also says nothing about housing for victims of violence and abuse, and we know that 50,000 women in Australia face homelessness every night as a result.
The government also introduced 20 weeks of paid parental leave to be shared between carers how they chose, rather than dictating a certain number of weeks for mothers and fathers. That’s pretty huge.
And it promised a new women’s health package which would put some money towards things like breast cancer treatment and screenings, cervical cancer screenings and stillbirth and miscarriage support and a measly $58 million endometriosis treatment package, but not heaps else. But what could we expect really?
Labor’s Women’s Policy
Albanese knows it’s got the upper hand on Morrison here so props to him for coming out swinging with a couple of big moves for women’s policy.
Labor has promised to close the gender pay gap once and for all. It plans to do this with a huge national campaign and “easier pay increases for low and middle income women workers”. This means it will remove some of the legal red tape around the Fair Work Commission’s ability to order pay increases.
Next it’s promised to introduce 10 days paid family and domestic violence leave for workers, finally, as well as build 4,000 affordable homes for women and children fleeing domestic and family violence and older women on low incomes who are at risk of homelessness.
It will also put $5.4 billion to make child care cheaper starting from July 2023.
It’s definitely not a bad start.
The Greens’ Women’s Policy
The Greens have put forward a number of very ambitious women’s policies, which it can afford to do because it simply won’t form government. But it will vote on other legislation based on these policies.
The Greens promised to end sexism and violence against women through a $12 billion National Plan for Ending Violence Against Women and Children and a standalone National Plan for First Nations Women. These plans would be developed by survivors of violence and would double funding to legal services, implement Respectful Relationships education in all public schools and provide 10 days paid domestic violence leave and $10,000 survivor grants.
The party also promised to close the gender pay gap by literally paying women more, make childcare and early education completely free and create 26 weeks paid parental leave to be shared between carers.