Money & Career

Meet Australia’s Rising Female Politicians

It's time to get elected

Women make up half the Australian population but only a third of the politicians elected to represent us. There’s only one way to redress the balance: more of us need to run for office.

We asked some of Australia’s emerging talent in local, state and federal politics for advice on getting in the game – and why they want to see your name on a ballot.

Meet The Rising Stars: Greens 

From left to right: Samantha Ratnam, Lidia Thorpe, Ellen Sandell, Katherine Copsey


Parliamentary Leader, Victorian Greens and Member of the Legislative Council – Northern Metro, Victorian Parliament

“To change the world, we need more people with varied backgrounds … Equal gender representation in politics is so important.”


MP for Northcote in the Victorian Parliament

“Women, particularly Aboriginal women, have been shut out of politics for too long. We’ve had people making decisions for us, but never been given a seat at the table ourselves. That has to change.”


State MP for Melbourne in the Victorian Parliament

“‘You cannot be what you cannot see.’ The best women are usually busy doing something else great, and probably don’t even think about the fact they’d
be great parliamentarians. We all need to encourage more women to take on these kinds of roles, even if that means men stepping aside sometimes!”


Councillor and former Deputy Mayor, City of Port Phillip

 “Like many people, I was so sick of the lack of leadership in our politics, the improper influence of lobbyists and people creating fear and division for political gain. We just don’t have time for that crap anymore. We need to work together, and to make that happen we need diverse people to get involved and take back our democracy.”

Meet The Rising Stars: Liberals 

From left to right: Jacinta Price, Sarah Richards, Tina Ayyad and Jane Hume


Councillor, Alice Springs and Vice President of the Country Liberal Women

“When you belong to a large Aboriginal family, you experience crisis situations and death on a regular basis. I have had to ID my younger cousin’s body after she died in an alcohol-related car crash. I have had to comfort children in my family who have lost their mothers to domestic violence. I’m fighting for my family and everyone else’s.”


Councillor, Hawkesbury City Council

 “Like many women, my biggest challenge was deciding when to have a family and wondering how that was going to impact my career.
I had my kids in my mid-20s, and while the juggle is real, being involved in politics means I can instill in them
a strong sense of community spirit. It’s important that they know that Mum goes to work to help other people.”


Deputy Mayor, Liverpool Council

“Politics is a male-dominated space and even though it’s an honour to represent my community, it does involve sacrifice. We need more flexible working arrangements for women in politics, because being a mum always comes first. It’s not fair that women still have to make a decision between being politically active – or having any sort of career – and raising a family.”


Senator for Victoria

 “My kids are my biggest supporters. They make me laugh when things are tough, bring me back down to earth when I get swept away and cheer me on all the way. My proudest moment was when my daughter’s grade six class came to Canberra and I was able to show them around Parliament House. Waving up to them from my seat in the Senate chamber, [I saw that] my daughter was beaming with pride.”

Meet The Rising Stars: Labor 

From left to right: Lisa Singh, Rose Jackson, Emma Husar, Charishma Kaliyanda, Marjorie O’Neill and Jo Haylen


Senator for Tasmania

“I stood for election in 2006 as a single mum with little money to campaign with. I took out a loan from the bank, leveraged that money to fundraise further and – fortunately – I was elected. But that’s not the case for everyone. I believe campaign financing rules should change. If they did, I think that we’d see more women, from more diverse backgrounds, engage politically.”


Federal Member for Lindsay

 “You need to have core beliefs that drive you. Without them, everything you do is inauthentic. For me, those things are domestic violence prevention – as a survivor of DV myself – and caring for children living with disabilities. You need to believe in what you’re doing 110 per cent, all the time, who you are doing it for and, most importantly, you need to know what the outcome should be. A lot of people think politics is problems. It’s not – it’s about solutions.”


Assistant General Secretary, NSW Labor

“Women are citizens, and therefore women need to be in politics. We are no more or less qualified or naturally capable of being effective political representatives than men; we’re equally as qualified, and so it goes without saying we should be equally as involved.”


Councillor, Liverpool City Council and candidate for the seat of Holsworthy

 “When decisions about our future, the type of communities we live in and our priorities are made by people who reflect the community we live in, we get better decisions overall. Just as multiculturalism has contributed to the richness of Australian society, having more women in politics will improve the quality of political decisions and the process that leads to these decisions.”


Councillor, Waverley Council

“The key to being con dent is understanding that what you’re trying to achieve is more important than you. If you have deep, abiding principles that guide your actions, confidence will naturally follow. In the end, my political career isn’t about me – it’s about the issues that affect my community.

Jo Haylen, 36

Member for Summer Hill

Like many of us, I am a great self- doubter. But I have come to realise that it’s not natural talents that make you successful, it’s what you do day in, day out. Consistent e ort and determination are what make you successful.”

Meet The Rising Stars: Independents 

From left to right: Jess Miller and Jess Scully


Deputy Lord Mayor, City of Sydney, Clover Moore Independent Team

“If you’d asked me when I was growing up what I wanted to do, ‘politician’ is the last thing I would have said. But I decided to run for council in 2016. I was right down at the bottom of the ticket and did not expect to be elected. Winning a seat was a massive surprise but an honour I take very seriously and an extraordinary opportunity to make change.”


Councillor, City of Sydney, Clover Moore Independent Team

“The key to confidence is appreciating that diverse life experience is an advantage, that your perspective is unique and that you can add value to a conversation or project if you approach it generously, open to learning. Also, people are so much kinder and more supportive than those critical voices in your head might be!”

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