For the last couple of days, my 16 year old daughter has been reminding me that we HAVE to watch The Sunday Project this week. We had an alarm set and everything! After weeks and weeks of watching Gladys address the state every morning, fighting off one journalist after another, determined to get her to say the wrong thing...After watching her lead us in what has been, undoubtedly one of the most challenging times in our state’s history, and definitely the most challenging time during her role as Premier… After all of this, my impressionable, eager young feminist, was just keen to hear the ins and outs of what was happening behind the scenes. Eager to see what makes this strong woman tick.
What is the decision making process?
How does the politics work?
What has been the process during the whole pandemic for planning our way out?
On top of that, it was Lisa Wilkinson who was going to be interviewing her. Another strong female role model, who left her breakfast television time slot, in a bid to fight against the inequities against women in the workplace.
We don’t usually watch The Project, but tonight, you had us waiting with baited breath.
And this is what we got….
One of the first questions was about the Ruby Princess….not about the hard decisions, or the leadership…..Lisa instead, tried to catch her out with, “Do you feel guilty everytime someone from the Ruby Princess dies?”
We then jumped as far as possible from the current crisis and Gladys’ amazing leadership throughout, to Julia Gillard’s misogyny speech, and then Julie Bishop’s interview with Andrew Denton.
“Did you watch them? Do you think Australian politics is a boy’s club?”
Quick, let’s try to catch her out again.
And when Gladys tried to reply with a response about not getting into those conversations...about being known, not as a good female Premier, but as a good Premier….Lisa scoffed. SCOFFED.
The following questions were just as irrelevant.
“What time are you getting to bed?”
“Have you got a holiday planned after all this?”
I’m sorry. Are we talking to the woman running the state right now, or are we catching up for a rose’ with our girlfriends? Are we actually going to acknowledge what an amazing job she is doing? Are we going to contribute to our building of the strong female narrative by actually getting her to articulate what her actual work has been during this time?
Or are we going to talk about bed times and holiday plans?
I looked to my daughter, who looked back at me with absolute disgust.
“Why is she doing this? Why is she trying to catch her out and make her look bad?”
I completely agree with Gladys. She shouldn’t be recognised as a good female Premier. She should be recognised for her work as Premier...full stop.
But this was an opportunity.
An opportunity to showcase a strong female leader, who has been making hard decisions. Decisions that she knows aren’t going to keep everyone happy, but need to be made. A strong female leader, who has worked as part of a strong team. Who has listened to the experts, worked with her learned colleagues and has flattened the curve.
This was an opportunity for my 16 year old daughter to see one strong (or so I thought) female, interview another strong female. To see her reach over and recognise the work of another strong leader. To straighten the crown of another woman and say, “We see you.”
What we got was far from it.