EMILY's List Australia

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EMILY's List Australia is a political network in Australia that supports progressive women candidates seeking election to political office. EMILY's List Australia was inspired by EMILY's List, a Political Action Committee with similar goals in the United States.

Issues central to the organisation's support of candidates are the principles of equity, diversity, reproductive rights, and the provision of equal pay and childcare.[1]

Over 230 EMILY's List members have been elected to state and federal Australian Parliaments.[2] The organisation was founded in 1996 and supports candidates through directed donations, "Early Money" financial support, gender gap research and volunteer support.[3]


On 26 November 1994, at Fire with Fire: The Feminist Forum held at the Sydney Town Hall, Joan Kirner mentioned the plan currently before the ALP National Executive to introduce an Australian version of the US Emily's List.[4]

In 1994, the ALP National Conference passed an Affirmative Action Rule requiring that women be pre-selected in 35 per cent of winnable seats, in all elections, by 2002.[5] This was at the same time as passing of the Affirmative Action (Equal Employment Opportunity for Women) Act 1986. In 1995 the ALP decided to form an internal version of EMILY's List,[6] and in 1996 Kirner established EMILY's List Australia outside the party.[7][8][9] with the aim of attaining 45% female membership in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

The name EMILY comes from its United States equivalent and is an acronym for "Early Money Is Like Yeast"[10][11] from the political saying, "Early money is like yeast, because it helps to raise the dough".

In the 2004 Federal Election campaign EMILY's List donated a total of $100,000 to candidates. Research conducted by EMILY's List and submitted to the Labor Party's national executive stated that Labor women regarded then health spokeswoman Julia Gillard as the best performer during the campaign, with then Prime Minister John Howard in second place. Of Mark Latham their submission stated; "the most common themes were: perceived aggression, concern he had been watered down for the campaign, inexperience, constantly going on about background, glib answers, bully boy tactics of the past"[12]

In the 2010 Federal Election campaign EMILY's List undertook Gender Gap research in six key marginal seats and undertook a targeted campaign incorporating materials along the themes of 'We Can't Trust Tony', 'Let's Make History' and 'Torpedo the Speedo'.[13]

In the 2012 Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory elections, for the first time EMILY's List endorsed every female Labor Party candidate contesting those elections.[14][15]

Australia's first female Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, was a founding member of EMILY's List Australia and assisted to prepare their initial constitution. She presented the Inaugural EMILY's List Oration at Parliament House, Canberra in September 2011.[16]

Organisational structure[edit]

EMILY's List Australia is run by a National Committee which includes parliamentarians, volunteers and women unionists. Although it is a partisan organisation, is not controlled by the formal structures of the ALP. At the State and Territory level there are "Action Groups" (ELAG) which have their own organisational structures.[17] South Australian Senator Anne McEwen and Victorian lawyer, poet and writer Tanja Kovac are currently the National Co-convenors.[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "What We Believe In". emilyslist.org.au. 2010. Retrieved 29 June 2010. 
  2. ^ "EMILY's List Australia - Current Members of Parliament" 2013, Retrieved 2013-07-31
  3. ^ "EMILY's List Australia - What We Do". Retrieved 2013-07-31.
  4. ^ Karen Fletcher (1994-12-14). "Put another dime in the jukebox, baby". Green Left Weekly #171. Retrieved 2007-07-30. 
  5. ^ "Making A Difference: How EMILY's List is working to achieve gender equity in Parliaments". 14 June 2002. Archived from the original on 6 May 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-30. 
  6. ^ Jane S. Jaquette (Autumn 1997). "Women in Power: From Tokenism to Critical Mass". Foreign Policy. Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive, LLC (108): 23–37. doi:10.2307/1149087. JSTOR 1149087. 
  7. ^ Murray McLaughlin (2005-06-20). "Martin basking in huge election win". ABC. Retrieved 2007-07-30. 
  8. ^ Tremblay, Manon (2005). Sharing Power: Women, Parliament, Democracy. Ashgate Publishing. p. 181. ISBN 0-7546-4089-2. 
  9. ^ Elizabeth Sleeman (2001). "Kirner, Joan Elizabeth". The International Who's Who of Women 2002 (3rd ed.). Routledge. p. 300. ISBN 1-85743-122-7. 
  10. ^ "EMILY's List Australia - History". Retrieved 2007-07-30. 
  11. ^ Marian Sawer (1999). "EMILY's List and Angry White Men: Gender Wars in the Nineties". Journal of Australian Studies. 
  12. ^ Maiden, Samantha (30 November 2004). "Gillard gets top rating by women". The Australian. p. 2. 
  13. ^ Patricia Karvelas (2010-08-10) "Women's group takes on Tony", The Australian. Retrieved 2013-07-31.
  14. ^ "EMILY's List Australia - Every Woman Labor Candidate in NT Election a Member of EMILY's List". 2012-08-13. Retrieved 2013-07-31.
  15. ^ "EMILY's List Australia - Every Woman Labor Candidate in ACT Election a Member of EMILY's List". 2012-07-25. Retrieved 2013-07-31.
  16. ^ Mamamia.com.au (2011-09-15) "Don't take women's rights for granted: Gillard". Retrieved 2013-07-31.
  17. ^ "EMILY's List Australia - People". Archived from the original on 7 June 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-30. 
  18. ^ "EMILY's List - About Us". Retrieved 2013-07-31.

External links[edit]