The federal budget delivered last night may well mark an important ideological and psychological shift in the attitude towards women in the parliament and other power centres in Australia. Unlike past years when platitudes have been the order of the day and lip-service has been paid to the rights, interests and apprehensions to the female part of the population, we now see some real and worthwhile movement.
These include: $ 1.7billion over 5 years for childcare; $ 535m for women’s and girl’s health; $ 261m for family, sexual and domestic violence services; $ 129m for women’s legal centres over 4 years. The government has been stung by the ferocity of the reaction to their ham handed response to stories of sexual violence in high places. They understand that in the post- #MeToo world there is a political price to be paid in defending male assumptions of impunity. Apart from this, one hopes also that there is recognition that to promote long-term sustainable growth, Australia must unleash the economic potential of its women.
Time will tell whether the budget was an aberration or a turning point for the women of Australia.