By MIA FREEDMAN
Dear Women Of The Election,
Dear Penny Wong and Julie Bishop and Tanya Plibersek and Jess Rudd and Therese Rein and the Abbott daughters, Frances and Bridget and even Margie who doesn’t say much but looked smashing at the Liberal campaign launch. I’ve loved hearing you all be interviewed and watching you interact with each other and humanise what’s been an otherwise dispiriting election.
Women have been the best part of this campaign. Highlights have included Penny Wong’s appearance on the SBS program Insight where she explained so powerfully why her relationship should be equal to any other married couple in Australia. Jess Rudd warmly greeting Margie Abbott before the Rooty Hill debate. Margie and Therese both resplendent in Thai Silk. Little Josephine Rudd, a permanent presence on her mother or grandmother’s hip. Julie Bishop’s guest programming Rage this weekend with a playlist that includes Madonna. Frances Abbott visibly cringing with disbelief when her dad said “sex appeal”.
I’ve found myself switching off from the men in this campaign and gravitating towards the women; the candidates and also the families.
I’m not the only one. The use of Frances and Bridget Abbott at the Liberal’s campaign launch was a clever one that generated a hugely positive reaction. As Fairfax journalist Paula Joye wrote:
“While I doubt any of the women in the Abbott or the Rudd household need counsel on what to wear – particularly from men in Canberra – I suspect that the outfits Bridget and Frances chose were as considered as their first formal dresses. The racer-back top, sleek white jacket and edgy orange pants screamed successful, independent and strong. This was the wardrobe of alpha women. Women who were raised to be great. Bridget and Frances managed to rewrite the public perception of their dad with one swish of those glossy ponytails. Surely a man who raised such luminous children must have done something right?”