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Roger Scott: The prominence of women in Queensland politics

TJ Ryan Foundation Board member, Roger Scott, writes in the Pearls & Irritations blog (18.5.18) about the Liberal Party’s dumping of federal Assistant Minister Jane Prentice, who unexpectedly lost a pre-selection contest in her otherwise safe inner-Brisbane seat of Ryan to a younger male challenger.

‘Until this week, Jane Prentice was not on the roll of women prominent in Queensland politics, a short list which includes two ALP Premiers but also a number of women of alternative political persuasions, starting with Lady Flo and including two current party leaders.

‘Prentice’s current status may well prove a flash in the pan, as the media attention relates to the manner of her departure. I have lived in her electorate of Ryan for the length of her eight-year tenure and her prior period of service in local government. I perceived her as a suitably-rewarded loyal foot soldier, first of Campbell Newman and then of Malcolm Turnbull. (It is a measure of the temper of the local and perhaps the national scene that Turnbull has not been able to offer the level of support that she offered him in the leadership ballot.)

‘I also perceived her as a not especially enthusiastic local member, beyond the formulaic use of parliamentary allowances to provide newsletters by post or email. Community gatherings were much more likely to be attended by State and local government Liberals, one of whom is now her designated successor. The succession plan for Alderman Julian Simmonds to take over was well known locally and there appeared no policy discontinuities involved between them – the issue appears to have been the timing of the departure, with Prentice doing a Hawke over her own ‘Kirribilli’ deal.’

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