It has been a busy week at the CIS with two exciting events underway. There was an interesting discussion and debate between Kristina Keneally, former NSW premier and Labor Senator, and Karina Okotel, federal vice president of the Liberal Party on the role of women within the major parties. As Karina Okotel pointed out it is important to realise that voters ultimately care about the quality of candidates and their policy contributions rather than the gender of candidates.
However, there is also a possibility that perhaps the lack of women within politics is an underlying symptom of the characteristics of a political career. Unsurprisingly highly-qualified women and men who have a passion for politics are deterred from a political career due to the high trade-off. This trade-off exists because entering politics requires huge sacrifices such as long working hours, intense media scrutiny and relentless public abuse. Hence, talented capable women often choose not to run for office or choose politics as a career.
On Thursday evening, the CIS hosted a book launch of the prominent Australian poet and tax lawyer, Geoffrey Lehmann. Former High Court justice, Michael Kirby, was also present and humorous as always. Having been on the High Court for thirteen years and known as the “Great Dissenter”, the former justice is perhaps one of the most influential legal minds. He has since continued his legal career leading a commission of inquiry into human rights abuses in North Korea.
With the other interns joining us at the CIS, we have had a productive week. Later in the week, we began the day with a media training workshop from our Director of Research. Part of the role of think tanks is to discuss policy issues on a panel within the media and inform the public. Hence, it is not only crucial to conduct high-quality research on government policy but to also be able to insightfully convey these issues to the public.