"If I were Prime Minister for the day ..."

Yasmin

Beyond feminising the discourse and practice of leadership, I'd make equal pay for equal work more than a political slogan. As a third culture young adult, the ripple and downstream effects of equal pay is a benefit to all members of our community ... and, yes, that also includes men! Sadly and sardonically, we find that in order to get a product (read: equal pay for equal work) to sell, we need to appeal to the baseline –the male gaze, the male mind and a man’s hip pocket. Putting aside the dehumanising and pessimistic overtones this can engender –like all clichés, knowledge is power! At the heart of this ambivalence, framing and packaging the product can be empowering and it may yield cultural and societal dividends. As a product of this hip-hop generation, I offer the following solutions:

  • Dedicated, quirky and diverse advertising campaigns –including a remix of Dove’s Like a Girl campaign.
  • A ‘pay-swap for a day scheme’, so that men and women can feel the tangible, not just rhetorical, differences (un)equal pay has on people’s lives.
  • Greater transparency around disclosure of staff salaries.
  • Financial literacy training and classes for all Australian students.

Courtney

I would change the government to a dictatorship and make everyone go follow me on Instagram. I’m only joking, I’m content not being Insta-famous. Being someone with Congenital Heart Disease (CHD), I would take a better look into the health policies that we currently have and make them more accessible for CHD, since it is the number one killer of children in Australia. I would also make it easier for international doctors to move and work in Australia; WA has one paediatric surgeon cardiologist to share among the whole state. I would tax meat and limit deforestation as well as building solar farms because a sustainable Australia is an Australia with a future. Watching so many of my friends have babies and then not be able to go back to work because they cannot afford childcare, I would introduce a public childcare system where people can get their children looked after for free or at a much lower cost. That being said, I only have one day so I’d probably just fast-track my degree of politics and international relations and communications in journalism and make it free for me and every other Australian student, while trying not to get lost exploring Parliament.

Saban

Dear Australia,

If I were your Prime Minister for one day
I would be humbled by this role.
Building a strong, inclusive Australia
Would be my ultimate goal.

I would recognise our First Nation’s People
And their ongoing connection to this land.
Seeking wisdom from our Indigenous elders
So we work together hand in hand.

I would be a fearless, bold change-maker
Advocating for all forms of equality.
Elevating unheard voices to normalise difference
To make Australia a global leader on diversity.

Supporting fair representation in leadership
Would be an essential part of my day.
As our society can only function at its best
When Australians of all backgrounds have their say.

While at Capital Hill my priority will be
Reducing domestic violence, discrimination and assisting refugees.
A commitment to safety, justice and compassion is crucial
For decisions at home and overseas.

This may seem insurmountable
To achieve in a short time window
However, change begins with one person
Brave enough to shake the status quo.

If I become your first female, Australian Muslim PM
I sincerely promise to you.
That the solidarity and success of our great country
Will be at the heart of everything I do.

Georgia

I would assess how we are currently minimising the health gap between non-Indigenous and Indigenous women. Taking into consideration the agenda within the National Women’s Health Policy (2010), current public health research, as well as the work of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, I would arrange a focus group to discuss the known limitations to improving Indigenous women’s health. This focus group would consist of ten Indigenous women in the health sector from all over Australia. The aim of the focus group would be to develop a trial of a local-level preventative strategy to assist them in lessening the health gap.

Linda

I would look to eliminate the gender wage gap; implement better mental health support – funding, research, resources – for a range of demographics and to ensure that the concepts of poverty or discrimination would never be experienced by coming generations.

But that sort of change can hardly be brought about in a day, if ever.

So instead, I’d look to our youth and the ways that we educate. I’d begin to brainstorm ways where we can better bolster an empathetic, intelligent collective of individuals to feel empowered to act towards an equitable and well-functioning country from their formative years. I’d look towards bringing people together – those of similar backgrounds, where they feel safe discussing the issues that matter to them, as well as people who (in theory) have very different views - to foster empathy and creativity in solving problems that may seem to conflict. I’d show that women are more than capable of taking on the top job – and try to make it that tiny bit easier for bright young women to jump into policy and politics.

If I were Prime Minister for a day, I’d change enough to get the ball rolling.

Nupur

My identity is not a disadvantage. I am a woman of colour wanting to be Prime Minister and have been told that such a goal is “unrealistic” for people like me. Furthermore, society questions the loyalty of women of colour to this country by asking “where are you from?” This imposition of disadvantage on women, particularly women of colour and the resulting self-victimisation practised by all women, is something I would change if I were Prime Minister for one day.

I would organise a televised and well-promoted panel of women from diverse backgrounds, who are capable and passionate leaders to discuss the future of the Australian nation, whilst also celebrating their differences. This will demonstrate to the Australian people that, regardless of gender and ethnicity, everyone wants this nation to progress for future generations. I recognise that the effects of this panel on female leadership will take time to show. But as Prime Minister for the day, I would make it my mission to start the change Australia needs to secure Capable and Diverse female leadership in this country. Identity is not a source of disadvantage, but a source of pride and this is the message I would promote during my day in office.

Brianna

I would discuss starting more education, support, and healthcare programs in isolated Indigenous communities within Australia. I would discuss our current issues with vulnerable children in care by the state to ensure they are being provided for, within a safe environment. I would discuss our current restorative justice system and its issues in providing offenders with the proper care to survive. I would discuss the current issue of racially profiling terrorism. It’s not a religious or race issue; it’s an extremist issue. I would discuss our plan to diminish climate change. And most importantly, I would discuss how important it is to have role models of all ethnicities, sizes, shapes and genders in positions of power.

Adriana

There are many issues that are close to my heart, such as marriage equality, formal constitutional recognition of indigenous Australians and closing the gender pay gap, however, I feel that having the position for only one day, I could have the most profound effect on the issue of waste in Australia. I am from North Queensland and growing up alongside the Great Barrier Reef I am deeply saddened that predictions suggest that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. Not to mention the health effects that fish and animals eating micro-plastics and consequently entering the food chain will have on our citizens.

Firstly, as Prime Minister I would call for a strict nationwide plastic bag ban, that didn’t allow for loopholes that are currently in effect in states such as in the ACT. Secondly, I would impose a tax levy on unnecessary single use plastic, such as that which is used in supermarkets to cover a single vegetable.

Finally, the implementation of a standardised recycling education program that begins in primary schools, along with a nationwide advertising campaign.

Shafeen

If I were to be Prime Minister of this great nation for a day, I would focus my energies on the past, present and future.

I would acknowledge the reality of Australia's history and the rights of the original occupants of our wide, brown land by ensuring indigenous people are recognised in social, economical and political forums and their opinions are heard with regards to domestic and international policies.

I would ensure the present generation of women and children are protected from abuse, violence and vulnerability via displacement, by providing shelter and education to those at home and those that come across the seas to our boundless plains.

For our future, I would seek to address the refugee crisis and climate change - two giant issues that have no easy solution - by making educated and informed decisions, based on expert opinion.

To do all this, I would spend my day as an inclusive and open leader, hearing all voices regardless of gender, religion or race.

Isabelle

I would reform Australian domestic violence federal policy. Domestic violence is a pervasive issue that affects all levels of Australian society, regardless of socioeconomic status, age, culture or level of education. One in four Australian women have suffered from domestic violence, of whom 73% have experienced more than one incident. Four in five female victims have never contacted the police. It is a major issue for Australia: a 2016 study found that intimate partner violence is the leading cause of death, disability and illness of Australian women aged 18-44. While the National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children has attempted to integrate and coordinate the efforts across all levels of Australian government, further action is needed. As Prime Minister, I would mandate that paid Domestic Violence Leave was recognised; ensure that, per the statement of Attorney-General George Brandis in 2017, alleged perpetrators are to be banned from cross-examination of their victims in court, but would follow this up with a corresponding increase in Legal Aid funding; and train specialist domestic violence lawyers and case workers to assist with early intervention mediation.

Ella

I would raise the award for nurses, teachers and childcare workers. Each sector serves an invaluable contribution to our society and are not financially recognised for their efforts to the extent I believe they should be. Also, as mainly female-dominated industries, I believe it is even more important that immediate action should be taken. I would also like to make steps to protect the environment to ensure it remains preserved for future generations. This would begin by ensuring only re-usable or biodegradable plastic bags are used in all shops around the country. Next, I would focus on divesting in coal production (namely ensuring the Adani mine does not proceed) and focusing Australian energy sources to more renewable sources. During the transition, I would implement a program of retraining for coal workers, in the growth sector of renewable energy. I would also like to implement a program targeting Aboriginal Australian and rural children's ability to meet health and education targets. Increasing the standards of facilities and capacity to access them would be fundamental to achieve this.

Sara

The following pieces of my manifesto as potential prime minister would include:
  • The reimplementation of full Gonski reforms in the Education system
  • Furthering attempts of reconciliations with our First Nations peoples and closing of socio-economic, emotional and physical gaps
  • A review of all our military alliances
  • Further funding and implementation of renewables; power, farming, and research
  • Large-business tax and an inquiry into the so-called "Australia tax" on product prices in comparison to international prices
  • Reinforcement of secular government and secular values
  • Raising the percentage of GDP spent on Domestic Violence, Mental Health and Foreign Aid, while scaling back the amount spent on misleading military funding
  • Raising of the minimum wage to decrease the gap between it and the cost of living
  • Tackling of urban sprawl while also changing building techniques to last against Australian weather and natural disasters
  • East Coast bullet train transport link
  • Royal commissions into: the banking industry and retirement/nursing homes

Maddi

For equality to become a reality, we need legal and cultural empowerment to overcome the limitations of gender and sexuality. This can be achieved by closing the gender pay gap, supportive maternity leave programs, accessible childcare, more support for foster carers and carers in general, anti-discrimination policies, education and empowerment programs throughout schools and the media. Whilst we have come so far, there is still so much more to be done to make Australia truly the land of fair go.

I would work to create requirements of high school health classes to include the topics of mental health, modern pornography, sexuality, the portrayal of both men and women in the media, the different conveyances of gender discrimination; and how each of these topics sustains sexism and gender inequality, how jokes about sexism and racism contribute massively to the discriminatory culture within Australia.

I would pass the bill on gay marriage, as all Australians should have the right to marry who they love, and work to make Australia a better place for minority groups such as women, LGBTQI and ATSI population through restructuring educational programs and policies and tightening policies surrounding discrimination.

Holly

There are many issues which effect young women that need to be better addressed by the Australian Government. The issues I am most passionate about are Youth Mental Health and Discrimination.

Australia has extreme domestic violence rates with one woman dying each week at the hands of her partner. What we often forget about is the impact this has on children. 75% of mental illnesses emerge by the age of 24 and half by the age of 14. We need to drastically improve the funding of youth health services. Too often are young people turned away because there are either no resources available or they are dismissed because "young people do not experience health problems".

Lastly, the level of Islamophobia and racial discrimination in society and the media further impacts upon mental health and wellbeing. Any form of discrimination, Islamophobia or racism must be condemned and better regulated in order to sustain an inclusive society.