Is Alan Jones a feminist? Five things we learned from Q&A.

Mamamia’s co-founder and creative director Mia Freedman appeared on QandA last night alongside Minister for Employment and Women Michaelia Cash, Opposition Leader in the Senate Penny Wong, radio broadcaster Alan Jones and media personality Josh Zepps.

The panel got together on the eve of International Women’s Day to talk about everything from Niki Savva’s controversial new book to feminism, with Alan Jones saying he was a feminist.

1. Will we ever get to a place where a powerful woman will be judged solely on her performance?

Mia Freedman: “He (Abbott) was involved in a relationship that was so… codependent that it really did seem to affect his judgement.”

“That was not the crux of the problem. The problem was that they both (Abbott and Credlin) seemed to believe that he was unable to govern without her.”

Alan Jones: “It does seem that some people are very uncomfortable with powerful women. Those who know her (Credlin) know she is a woman of ability.”

Penny Wong: “My views about Tony Abbott and his government is that there was obviously dysfunction in the heart of the prime minister’s office.”

Michaelia Cash: “I prefer to focus on what we’re going to do going forward. I certainly do believe that there is a place for formidable women…. I think we can all agree that there should be more women in leadership positions across that country and that’s what we should be focusing on.”

“I’m not going to comment on commentary.”

2. Should George Pell be removed from his position in the church?

Alan Jones: “A fairly unfortunate focus on Pell, in that he was 28-years-of-age at the time.”


Mia Freedman: “For survivors, we expect from our religious leadership some leadership, some empathy and understanding.

“I was struck of the lack of compassion, understanding, sensitivity, humanity, of George Pell… It was flabbergasting to see his complete lack of understanding.”

Michaelia Cash: “Despite what he may or may not have known, it is the way he has approached the victims of the royal commission.”

Alan Jones: “We have to remember that they don’t ask us what we were up to at 28.”

Penny Wong: “There is a sense of avoidance of responsibility.”

3. Aboriginal children and reconciliation.

Alan Jones: “I believe we’ve got a n obligation to say these children deserve a second chance. We’ve got to understand that many of these children were taken away for their betterment.”

Penny Wong: “We have to be honest with ourselves about what this society did impose on Aboriginal andTorres Strait Islander people.”

“In a discussion about child protection, I think race plays no part.”

Michaelia Cash: “Regardless of race, of ethnicity, it does not matter. Do each of us here have a responsibility to ensure children are as safe as they can be? Absolutely.”

4. American politics.

Mia Freedman: “What’s interesting about Hillary Clinton is how she’s not resonating with the younger women. Young women are saying they don’t want their mother’s candidate.”


5. A question of Feminism.

Michaelia Cash: “Do I think I can be passionate about my commitment to gender equality and yet not be a feminist?”

Mia Freedman: “Why are you so scared of the word?! If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck… it’s a duck! You’re a feminist Michaelia!”

Michaelia Cash: “I don’t label myself but I can tell you that I get out there everyday and passionately defend gender equality.”

Mia Freedman: “Alan are you a feminist?”

Alan Jones: “I certainly believe in equality of the sexes that’s for sure.”

Mia Freedman and Alan Jones.

Mia Freedman: “It troubles me that Alan Jones isn’t afraid of labelling himself a feminist, but our Minister for Women is. Feminism is a term for people who believe we have come a long way, but still have a long way to go.”

“You’re not running from the meaning of the work, you’re running from the perception of it. You don’t have to be scared of the word because nobody thinks that of it anymore.”

Alan Jones: “Does the woman in the family feel that she has equality? Does the girl in the classroom feel she has equality? Does the women in the workplace? If not, why not?”

Mia Freedman: “Because a lot of times, people say with the gender pay gap, ‘oh it’s because women take time out to have children’.”

Penny Wong: “At least we now have a woman as Minister for Women. It’s an improvement.”