Women Leaders – Talking the Talk

Photo by Jennie Groom © 2016                            L-R Rebekha Sharkie, Nick Xenophon Team, Kerrynne Liddle, Liberal Party of Australia, Hon. Kate Ellis MP, Australian Labor Party and Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, Australian Greens

Last night I attended the 2016 Election Q+A hosted by Women in Media at the Advertiser and listen to the above women speak on politics and being a woman in politics. You may know that this topic is close to my heart and my recent work so I just had to feature them as today’s Wednesday’s Women.

The panel of women was diverse with two women running for the Senate and two for the House of Representatives and across the two major and the two (major) minor parties.

My recent exhibition “let us be up and doing” showcased women from South Australia who are former politicians but had achieved a major milestone, like first or longest. Last nights panel, if all elected, would still be ground breaking; Rebekha Sharkie would be the first woman to win the seat of Mayo; Kerrynne Liddle would be the first Aboriginal woman from South Australia to enter the Senate; Kate Ellis will continue as an MP, her 13th year and Sarah Hanson-Young will continue on as a Senator, her 9th year.

I chose last night as a good night to start my petition, “A Plead to Lead by example, Respect from the top down. Politicians quit bully behaviour.” In the footsteps of Mary Lee who travelled the colony (SA) in 1894 gaining 11,600 signatures for her petition to give women the right to vote, I plan to do the same with the above petition as I travel my exhibition around SA in the coming months. I was very pleased our leaders last night started off the handwritten petition with many of the media women signing on too. If you would like to sign the petition which will be presented to State and Federal Parliament, you can either catch me on the road or sign the digital petition here….

I wish all the women all the best in the election, be up and doing!

Natasha Stott Despoja, Party Woman

From the
From the “let us be up and doing” public art exhibition by Jennie Groom, Illustration by Maya Graham © 2015

Party indeed, for today is Natasha Stott Despoja’s birthday, the 9th of the 9th !

As a fellow member of the double numbers club (I am the 1st of the 1st) I am programmed to remember Natasha’s birthday!

Not shy of parties, Natasha was the party leader for the Australian Democrats from April 2001 to August 2002.  It was during this time I first met and photographed Natasha for an exhibition titled ‘Look at us Now’ for the Centenary of Federation.  A female political party leader in the 100th year of Australia’s Federation – how very apt!  As I was led into Natasha’s office to set up my equipment I noticed that she was on the office phone, sending a text message and having work handed to her all at the same time.  All this business and multitasking with enough room left for a smile at me!

I have since photographed Natasha numerous times socially and for exhibitions and she has always been willing, helpful and friendly.

I have an active interest in politics and I have never heard or read a bad word about Natasha Stott Despoja.  I feel like I have just written a referee letter for a job application, perhaps the job of Prime Minister……aha!

Happy Birthday Natasha!