Women about the House

Regardless of their political persuasions, the women in Australian politics have shown themselves to be amazingly conservative, as they try to prove they have the balls for the job.

In this fight for political acceptance, an amazing trend is developing among the women who have succeeded in getting to the top of Australian politics.

Of all the women in Australian politics only two, both from the Labor Party, stand out. Carmen Lawrence and Joan Kirner are the only women to have made it as Premiers of Australian States. Well, perhaps they did not make it so much as were merely elevated to the position by desperate men keen to boost Labor's fortunes at a time when they never had a hope in hell of winning the next election anyway.

But whom did they choose? Who were these women really? And what did they have that other politicians lacked? Were they more "up to the job"? More experienced perhaps? Were they more radical then their male counterparts? Yes, they were all of these things, but more importantly they had the quality that any woman who wants to succeed in Australian politics needs --- looks.

Forget theory that women who want to succeed in a so-called man's world need to prove that they are more men than the men themselves. In Australia merely behaving like a man is not enough for political success. You need to actually look like a man as well.

Carmen Lawrence became the first woman Premier in Australia's history when she took over as Premier of WA in 1990. But is she really anything more than the Tootsie of the Labor Party?

Dustin Hoffman battled to get a role until he donned a dress and read for a female part. Carmen, with her frumpy fashion sense and owlish glasses did an amazing impersonation of Tootsie during her brief flirtation with power. She read the scripts, made up her lines on the fly, played the media for all they were worth, and never let a man get the better of her. Yet, in the end she had no choice but to reveal herself for what she really was!

The second woman to make it was Joan Kirner, former Premier of Victoria. Didn't she star in Nuns on the Run? --- a farcical tale about two smalltime crooks who decide to finance their early retirement by running off with the loot from their gang's latest robbery (they get away by dressing as nuns and hiding in a local convent). There certainly seemed to be a lot of crookery going on when Joan burst onto the political scene.

Joan bears more than a striking resemblance to Robbie Coltrane in drag. Unfortunately, although Joan saw the error of a life of crime and went a long way towards trying to right the wrongs, and making restitution for the damage done, she never did manage to pull off a political miracle!

Were Joan's minders aware of the striking resemblance to Robbie Coltrane? Did they go out of their way to play up to it? Of course they must have known. Why else would Joan have started wearing polka dot dresses?, the very sort favoured by Robbie Coltrane in The Fruit Machine, where he played the cross-dressing owner of a gay night club? He ended up getting chopped to death with a machete. Oh Joan! If only you were aware of the plot, you may still have been with us today.

So who will be the next woman to rise up on the Australian Political Scene? The Liberal Party tried to give us Bronwyn Bishop, but she couldn't cope with the housework like Mrs Doubtfire.

The question is, no matter who the next woman is to burst through the ballot papers and stride manlike across the Australian political landscape, will she be anything more than Julie Andrews in Victor Victoria? --- a woman pretending to be a man pretending to be a woman.

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