Alexandria Rantino
March 8, 2024

Who run the world?!

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Today, on International Women’s Day, I want to thank our supporters for helping elevate and empower women in politics.

While we still have a long way to go, the community independents movement has pushed the door wide open for women in politics over the last decade. 

Julia Gillard’s famous “Misogyny Speech” in 2012 captured so much of what was wrong with politics in this country. The following year, Tony Abbott became Prime Minister and appointed himself Minister for Women in a cabinet with 18 men and just one woman.

While the aftermath of the 2013 election was devastating for those of us in the climate movement, something positive did emerge from it. 

In 2013, Voices for Indi in regional Victoria took democracy into its own hands when it elected its first community independent: Cathy McGowan. 

Her leadership inspired a wave of other successful women to put their professional careers on hold and enter politics as a community independent: Professor Kerryn Phelps in 2018, Zali Steggall and Dr Helen Haines in 2019, and then six more inspiring women in 2022. 

I am really proud of the impact this community has had to help make this possible.

This is a movement led by women, and inspired by women leaders.

In the 2022 federal election, the percentage of women running as independent candidates almost doubled compared to the previous election – reaching 43%.  

Climate 200 supported 23 campaigns, 20 of which had women candidates. We supported a further nine women candidates in the Victorian and NSW state elections.

There are now nine independent women MPs in the House of Representatives (eight of whom were supported by Climate 200).

Australia has never had a more gender-balanced federal parliament – 45% of federal parliamentarians are women.

What inspired so many women to campaign in the election?

Women were angry. They were sick of sexist comments from our political leaders, tone-teaf responses to serious allegations of sexual misconduct and bullying in parliament, and policies that belittled women – like accusing mothers of ‘double dipping’ with paid parental leave.

In the almost two years since the last federal election, we’ve seen a new tone in parliament. The independent crossbench has worked constructively to scrutinise and improve legislation, stand up for the community and the environment, and hold the government to account. 

This has included tireless advocacy for greater action to address gender-based violence and support for significant reforms, like making childcare cheaper, and a new support service to deal with complaints of sexual and workplace misconduct in Parliament House.

As they say: don’t get mad, get elected.

Chief Operating Officer

Alex has pursued climate action throughout her entire career, including as a Paris Agreement negotiator and a policy adviser at DFAT, the Climate Change Authority and United Nations Environment Programme. Alex is a qualified lawyer with honours degrees in law and media and communications at Melbourne University.