Private Matters in the Public Realm: Cross Party Collaboration

Stream: Panel 51 - Gender Politics: Gender and Politics
Date: Tuesday, 27 September 2016
Time: 4.00 pm – 5.30 pm


Between 1996 and 2007 cross-party collaboration (CPC) was utilised by women in the Australian Federal Parliament to give representation to socio-moral issues, including women’s issues. CPC provides evidence that women are prepared to represent socio-moral issues (including euthanasia, reproductive rights, and stem cell research) even when doing so involves working with members of different political parties. It shows that women are more likely to justify their actions as based on community opinion, in line with Edmund Burke’s delegate model of representation, and it also demonstrates a substantive representation of women. Women utilised CPC as there are institutional constraints that restrict women’s actions in parliament, including physical, visual, structural and discursive elements. The higher number of women in the Senate resulted in a higher rate of CPC in that House and in this paper I argue that as the number of women reaches critical mass (30%) so too do the chances of CPC, but as parliament approaches gender parity, the rate of CPC will decrease as socio-moral issues previously conceptualised as ‘private’ matters become public.


Adele Lausberg (Presenter), University of Adelaide
Adele Lausberg is currently a PhD Candidate with the School of Politics and International Studies. Her PhD title is ‘Women and Representation: Cross-Party Collaboration in the Australian Federal Parliament.’ This thesis focuses on the ways in which Australian politicians, usually women, have collaborated across party lines in order to give better representation of the community’s views on socio-moral issues. Her main research interests concern Australian politics, women in politics, gender and politics, institutional theory, and parliamentary behaviour.