Hong Kong Chamber: A Letter from Canberra (Aug 2016)

Like many of us, I’ve spent the last few weeks transfixed by the events of the United States Presidential election process.

Particularly coming from Australia’s understated political atmosphere, the nominating process appears a surreal blend of pageantry, celebrity and history.

For the second time in its history, the Grand Old Party has nominated a non-politician to bear its standard.

For the second time in its history, the Democrats have nominated a Clinton.

Something’s different about this one, though.

Hillary Clinton is the first woman to become the presidential nominee of a major political party in the United States.

Clinton’s nomination is a momentous step towards shattering the glass ceiling which has prevented the realisation of women’s full participation in the American political system for too long.

Yet, there is still work to be done.

The same can be said at home in Australia.

Since being granted the right to vote and stand for election in 1902, Australian women have been elected to all levels of government.

These women have helped shape policies which have significantly improved the lives of Australian women and have helped make our country more equal.

It is because of the hard work of these women that I am able to represent my community as a member of parliament.

Just as Clinton’s nomination is being celebrated, Australians should also celebrate the progress that we have made towards achieving gender equality.

But we must not lose sight of the need for further action.

Across Australia women continue to be underrepresented in parliament and executive government.

Women still earn less, with less job security along the way, and retire with less at the end of it.

We’re right to celebrate the historic milestone that is the nomination of Hillary Clinton. It’s important to recognise it for the achievement that it is. But it’s a stepping stone to even greater things, and I’m excited to celebrate what’s next.

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