Will Australia ever have an Aboriginal or a Female Prime Minister?

Like, within the next 500 years or so? (Assuming Aus hasn’t been bought by Microsoft by then).
The closest contender for a female PM looks like Julia Gillard, the current Shadow Minister for Health… but that’s a long shot.

If you think this is highly unlikely ever to happen… what factors in the Australian political environment, or in Australian society, do you think are standing in the way of these two groups ever acheiving the prime ministership?

I predict that this thread will sink like a stone unless some Aussie or NZ posters wander into this forum sometime in the next 48 hours or so… :smiley:

What’s the debate? A female prime minister is no more or less likely here then in Britain or a president in the US. Demographic trends suggest we will likely have an asian prime minister before we have an aboriginal one though.

I can think of a number of Liberal women who might one day be PM. Sophie Panapoulos for one.

And for another thing we can’t have NZ lording that achievement over us.

Because an Aboriginal PM could only come from the left wing and it is tightly factionalised on ethnic and religious lines, particularly in the big cities, I doubt very much we will see such a person for many years, if ever.

Another vote for “what’s the debate?” - given the suggested time frame of 500 years I don’t see any reason why not. If we’re going to shorten the time-frame it gets more interesting though…

I think the Aboriginal candidates are more likely to want to belong to the Democrats and the Greens, who are hardly aiming for majority numbers in either house. Aden Ridgeway is the only current Aboriginal member of Parliament, and I believe his Senate term ends in a few months. A PM would have to come from Labor or the Libs, and they’re not exactly churning out the women candidates, much less Aboriginal ones.

Carmen Lawrence is President of the Labor party at the moment, but I’m not exactly sure what that job covers, and Julia Gillard is often mentioned as a potential leader. I don’t think there’s currently any other women on the radar, but I’m not entirely up-to-date though.

For the Libs, a while back Bronwyn Bishop was mentioned for leadership, but she was a bit too scary for everyone. And after the current Immigration Dept problems, I don’t think anyone wants Amanda Vanstone in charge of anything.

So not a lot of current candidates. I would think having a lot more women and Aboriginal members of Parliament would help, just by way of getting people used to the idea.

Women - I don’t see any candidates in the current generation of first rank politicians.

Aboriginal - I don’t see any potential candidate, now living. But if I did, it would be Noel Pearson.

I’m not certain Australia will ever see an Aboriginal PM. I’d like to see it, but I doubt it happening.

I reckon in 500 years John Howard will still be PM.

Female PM; Definatly, No one good for it at the moment though.
Aboriginal PM; wont ever happen, within 500 years i dont think there will be any pure aboriginals left (as in by the time there is an aboriginal in a position to become PM, i dont belive there will be any pure aboriginals left [ due to marrying into the white population and such, 500 years is a long time.])

If either of the major parties had good women candidates, then it would be possible. The problem always seems to be that it’s only ever the complete duds who get pushed forward as contenders for the leadership: Bronwyn Bishop; Cheryl Kernot; Carmen Lawrence etc. There’s at least one reasonably successful female leader at the moment - Clare Martin, the Chief Minister of the Northern Territory, but she doesn’t have a hugely high profile outside the NT.

Oh, I dunno - Julia Gillard appears to have her head screwed on right. It’s only a matter of time before a solid anyone-but-Beazley faction forms, given his horrendous numbers. Once he’s gone she’d be a top candidate for leader (although she’s Socialist Left, I believe). No idea if she could beat Howard, but many things could happen in the next 3 years or so.

Can’t think of any vaguely viable Aboriginal candidates though.

Just on averages alone - women are 51% of the Aussie population, Aboriginals only a couple of percent, if that. It’s far more likely that a female candidate for PM will appear.

I disagree with that. Australia is a very macho, very conservative country. I doubt that there will be a female Australian PM for quite a long time.

And since Aboriginals are despised by a large majority of the population (even those who claim “I’m not a racist, but…”), there is no chance of an Aboriginal ever being elected PM. In fact there would be a greater chance of a native American being elected president in the US.

I’m curious as to why you think only the left wing could produce an Aboriginal PM. After all, Neville Bonner (a Liberal) was the first Aboriginal person in the federal Parliament. Admittedly he was a Senator and not a directly elected MHR, but I don’t think that matters.

There are many people who are not “pure aboriginals” by your definition who call themselves Aboriginal. More importantly, they are accepted as such by other Aboriginal people (I hesitate to use the term “Aboriginal Community” since it is hard to define), and that’s good enough for me.

I think it will be a long, long time before we do not have a significant number of people who identify as Aboriginal.

There have been two female state premiers and there’s currently a female territory chief minister. I don’t think a female PM is as unlikely as you suggest.

And your justification for this statement is?

I presume you’re an Aussie? Can you justify this statement, or is it merely your opinion? Either way, I don’t agree.

Knowing nothing about Australian politics, I could suggest that if you are a member of a marginalized group and you wish to get into power, it can sometimes help to be a conservative: Margaret Thatcher, for example, or Kim Campbell.

On the other hand, the first gay members of the national legislatures of Canada, the US, and Britain were a New Democrat, a Democrat, and Labour, respectively.

I live in the Sydney’s western suburbs. The majority of the people I know have a very poor attitude to 'those bloody Abbo bludgers" (their words not mine).

No I am not an Aussie, but I do live in Australia. I have also lived in the UK and New Zealand and my comparative impression of Australia is that it is a very macho, right wing society.

I don’t know if it’s a majority, but I have to agree that there are a lot of people who are very vocal about their negative sentiments towards our Aboriginal people. It never fails to surprise me when someone I’ve only ever seen behave in a fair and tolerant manner starts talking about “bloody Abbos”. In many circles, there seems to be no taboo against racism towards Aboriginal people. I’ve heard it from co-workers, family, friends and even strangers and when I react with shock and disapproval, it surprises them but doesn’t seem to shame them.

That is exactly my experience. And in many cases I hear these racist comments from people who are otherwise very nice and likeable.

Lots of reasons, mostly ugly sad to say. Here goes:

  • The nationals as part of a co-alition would never tolerate an Aboriginal PM.
  • Land rights, Mabo.
  • There is a residue of sectarianism in Aussie society, the object of careful nurturing by John “wear this GG ya Micks” Howard. The right wing will generally prefer a protestant PM, whereas Labor is not so concerned.
  • The powerhouses of politics are Sydney and Melbourne. These simply are not environments where an aboriginal person can rise to r-w prominence. It is something hothoused from an early age - schools, religion, diction, culture.

In sum the choice of PM is something that amplifies prejudices of all sorts.