On the feminist politics of Abbotts front bench
Now the kerfuffle raised by feminists regarding Tony Abbot naming his front bench that includes only one woman has died down, let’s talk about the other glaringly obvious omission from Abbotts front bench that has received virtually no media space. Abbotts front bench is all white.
I’m not surprised media haven’t written on this. Because most mainstream media is white. They don’t notice their own default. Can I blame them? Yes. Yes I can.
I’ve been googling results for various search terms regarding Abbotts lack of, for want of a better word ‘colour’ in his front bench and coming up empty. Oh there’s a multitude of articles out there regarding the fact only one woman graces Abbotts front bench. But that’s where it ends.
The lack of scrutiny from mainstream media and feminist spaces points to a much bigger picture, and sadly for non-white Australians, this picture does not include YOU.
Not one article I have read has mentioned the fact that there is not one person of colour or ethnicity that isn’t white. This got me thinking about the elected representatives of the L/NP and if they even had any people of colour within their elected ranks.
The make up of Australia is incredibly diverse. Australia is by no means an ‘all anglo’ country. We are a very multicultural nation made up a multitude of different nationalities that have decided to call Australia home.
Why is this multi culturalism not reflected in the make up of our elected representatives?
The answer lies in the decisions of both of the ‘big two’ parties, and their selection of candidates. Because Labor is by no means more inclusive. Both parties have demonstrated time and time again that they will in instances of choosing individual candidates for parliamentary seats, choose the white person.
This to me is a much bigger issue than how many women happen to be sitting on the front bench. Feminists in Australia seem to delight in pointing out sexism, but never go that extra mile and refer to the very obvious lack of people of colour or other ethnicities when it comes to politics on the whole.
Australian feminism lacks intersectionality, and seems comfortable in doing so. I am yet to see any of the more prominent feminists in Australia address intersectionality in a meaningful and engaging way. There is no shortage of black/brown skinned women waiting for the opportunity to advance and extend the scope of Australian feminism beyond the sphere of ‘women on boards’ and policing Muslim womens clothing choices. (Prisons indeed, eye roll)
Feminism in Australia as it stands is doing nothing but prop up the status quo of whites in power. And is doing nothing to advance the rights of women that are not white.