COVID-19 exposed deep seams of ingrained gendered inequality in our economy, our federal budgets and national policies affecting women specifically, and the broader community more generally. The public furore in 2021 about sexual assault allegations and harassment, and the misogynistic nature of our political parliamentary culture, compounded the quiet fury felt by many women around the nation.
Recognising that this would be a pivotal election for the nation, we sought to elevate women’s concerns with political representatives. In doing so, we developed a candidate screening process for women to carry out in their own electorates with a small group of friends. For maximum impact, our candidate screening process focused on a select number of core issues for immediate action in the next term of government:
Matters that Count was launched in mid-March 2022. In a 7-week period, 110 groups registered for the candidate screening process, across 54 electorates in 7 states and territories. This is more than one third of all lower house seats and a monumental effort in such a short period of time.
With the support of 2 donors, we were able to run full page advertisements in the West Australian and Sydney Morning Herald newspapers, calling on millions of women to take a quiet moment to reflect on the issues most important to them, and then vote accordingly on election day.
The 8 issues we selected resonated widely around the country and at the time of writing, the new Albanese government has already moved on carbon emission targets, a referendum on a First Nations Voice to Parliament, wage rises and a jobs summit, and legislating domestic violence leave.
The composition of the 47th Australian Parliament is the most culturally diverse we’ve ever had, including more First Nations elected representatives that ever before and a wave of outspoken, genuine female independents.
Matters that Count put women’s concerns and issues at the heart of the federal election campaign. We’re delighted with the impact this initiative has had and feel an increased sense of hope today than at any other time over the past decade. Yet our fight continues, and we will continue to press this new government, and every one that comes after it, for greater levels of change on issues of greatest concern to women.
I have just finished reading your advertisement in the Sydney Morning Herald this morning, 14th May, 2022, and felt compelled to email you to say what an inspirational piece of writing for Australian women! I find myself far more politically engaged in this year’s Federal election and am even out campaigning for an Independent female candidate in the hope that we can achieve change for our children and grandchildren and make the world a better place for future generations, particularly women, who have been under represented for too long. Keep talking, we are listening!!
Sue via email
I say Amen and Bravo to your letter in today’s media. That an organisation such as your exists and states non partisan, fair and decent principles at its own expense in the hope of championing the very best democratic government for Australia refreshes hope in my bosom. With gratitude of hear and mind, and strength to your arm.
Sandra via email
We all have a right to open and clear dialogue with our elected representatives. This is what to do when they to brush you off.Read more
so that in this lifetime we will be: