Things are changing in Australia! It feels like we’re taking full breaths of air for the first time in over a decade.
While Costello snipes sourly and irrelevantly at Howard for not handing him the leadership a year ago, Maxine McKew declares victory over John Howard in Bennelong, and Julia Gillard is soon to become the first woman ever to lead Australia, however briefly – she will be Acting Prime Minister while Kevin Rudd travels overseas.
Tracee Hutchison (The Age) sums up the winds of change beautifully in “Exciting, defining times for women”:
The new Opposition crumbled and the Government-elect unveiled its new line-up, complete with a posse of impressive, talented women who would help run the country.
After too many years of twin-sets and pearls in the federal government, Australia finally has a group of governing female MPs who reflect the status of women and the diversity of our lives in contemporary Australia.
Finally, we have a group of women in the highest office in the land who don’t make me feel like a freak.
Women who are the daughters of migrants, women who are single and/or childless, openly gay, unmarried with children, married with children but who haven’t taken the surname of their husbands and others who have.
Our first couple will be known as the Prime Minister and Ms Rein. Oh, for the moment our PM is name-tagged Kevin Rein on an overseas trip.
These are exciting and defining times in Australian political life and in our nation’s history. And they are exciting and defining times for Australian women. We are finally at the table of power in this country and it’s been a long time coming.