Party time!

An Australian mother of six throws herself into her country's political ring by founding the What Women Want party.

By Matthew Fishbane
July 18, 2007 1:45AM (UTC)
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Today on Salon, Joan Walsh speaks to Elizabeth Edwards about why her husband is the best presidential candidate for American women. But meanwhile, across the big, big pond, Justine Caines, a mother of six and resident of rural New South Wales, Australia, has thrown her bush hat in the ring ahead of her country's likely parlimentaries in late 2007. And crikey! She's calling her party What Women Want.

So what do women want? "Mostly, it is what they need," says the party's Web site, which also insists that WWW is not "anti-bloke." Women want "to be heard; to be respected; and to participate in public life and not be excluded from doing so simply because they don't have hairy chests and testosterone."


Even at the risk of alienating others?

Caines gives her reply in an opinion for Australian Broadcasting: "Women are not participating in the political process to their capacity. Many are turned off by 'bully boy' tactics or simply feel they are unable to make a difference. We plan to give women a 'soft entry' into the political process. This inclusion is not at the exclusion of men."

And before you decide the whole thing is a political stunt that's not worth two bobs, consider that, already, 30 percent of Australia's senators and 25 percent of its representatives are women, compared with just 16 percent female representation in each of the chambers of the U.S. Congress. That'll put hairs on ya chest, eh?

Matthew Fishbane

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