I hope Labor sends Brittany Higgins a big bunch of flowers.
Higgins flicked the Great Ignition when when she revealed how the Liberal Party had treated her during her time as a junior Liberal staffer. Ignored her allegations and put its own reputation first. I won't go into the details of what Higgins alleges happened, because it's now before the courts.
But that dark moment seeded a movement that had been brewing for decades. And the movement that came together with Higgins as its linchpin deserved its results this weekend. Women for justice, women for change, women for safety, women for innovation and risk and bravery. Women marching, women standing, women voting. Women representing. Represent.
Those same women were the ones Morrison threatened last year when he refused to meet with protestors.
"This is a vibrant liberal democracy. Not far from here, such marches, even now, are being met with bullets - but not here in this country."
And in this country, he was not met with bullets. He was met with the vote, the women's vote. Every single pollster said the women were coming for Morrison. Every single pollster was right.
This was the story across the country. By early calculations (very early and god knows, it could all go postal), it looks this way: Labor now has 34 women and 39 men in the House of Reps, nearly at gender parity (and had it chosen the original candidate for Fowler, local lawyer Tu Le, and not the wildly inappropriate Kristina Keneally, it would have been even closer). Greens, one women(!) and three men. Liberals, 11 women, 46 men. My god that's a lot of men and those left behind probably don't like women anyway. Or think women don't have rights. The Liberal moderates, or as teal super PAC Simon Holmes A Court puts it, "fake moderates", are pretty much all gone now anyway. No point saying you're a moderate if you can never moderate the behaviour of your extremist peers.
And the independents, you ask? Nine women. Two men. Nine women and two men.
Of the 14 seats nationally that changed hands, 12 were won by women. There will be more analysis and more accurate numbers as the votes roll in and there are still, at this moment, 13 seats to call. But as you can see, more women and therefore more representative. Of the Labor gains, five out of seven are women. In Western Australia (which conservatives warned would be a blood bath for Labor), is instead a comforting bath of joy for progressive Labor women.
So, why was women's rage and anger and impatience so perfectly channelled this time? Three reasons, three key areas: climate, integrity and the Coalition government's highhanded dismissal of the 55 recommendations in Kate Jenkins's Respect@Work report.
Women's equality and safety. In his victory speech on Saturday night, the opposition leader acknowledged all that. Yes, yes, I'm picking out relevant bits.
"Together we can end the climate wars. Together we can take advantage of the opportunity for Australia to be a renewable energy superpower. Together we can work in common interests with business and unions to drive productivity, lift wages and profits ... together we can make forward equal opportunity for women a national economic and social priority," he said.
"Together we can and will establish a national anti-corruption commission. Together we can be a self-reliant, resilient nation, confident in our values and in our place in the world. And together we can embrace the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
"We can answer its patient, gracious call for a voice enshrined in our constitution. Because all of us ought to be proud that amongst our great multicultural society we count the oldest living continuous culture in the world. And I acknowledge Australia's next Indigenous affairs minister, Linda Burney, who is here."
Decades ago, when I was a much younger tacker, I remember covering the 1993 election, the one commentators were sure Paul Keating would lose. But he didn't. He worked actively to cultivate the votes of women.
At his victory speech, Keating said: "Can I give an extra special note of thanks to the women of Australia, who voted for us believing in the policies of this government."
As a personal aside, let me just thank PJK for superannuation, a gift to women everywhere. Albo, time to ensure we have super on paid parental leave and all the other needs women must have to participate fully. Which reminds me, how about a woman deputy, Mr Albanese?
Women driving change. Chicks in charge. Glorious. Let's do this thing for good. Forever.
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