August 2010

The Labor Party has changed and the change is in no small part to a group calling themselves Emily’s List. Emily is an acronym, which stands for Early Money is Like Yeast – it helps to raise the dough for campaigns.

It was formed in 1996 in response to a move by ‘progressive’ Labor women to try to fill a quota that the Labor Party had introduced two years earlier. This quota meant that by 2002 women had to be given 35% of winnable (safe) seats by Labor. Behind this affirmative action push were former premiers Carmen Lawrence and Joan Kirner as well as the current Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard. Emily’s List takes credit for helping one of its founders, Prime Minister Gillard into Parliament and with keeping her there, while the Queensland Premier Anna Bligh is also supported by the List.

Emily’s List was modelled on a United States organisation bearing the same name, which has among its members the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. It was formed in Australia to support women who are pro-abortion and pro-homosexual.

Not only does Emily’s List provide financial support to ‘progressive’ women, they also provide mentoring support, guiding these members once they are in parliament in how to introduce ‘progressive’ laws. It provides media and lobbying coaching to candidates and members of parliament as well as advocates, researches and provides political and financial support to women that promote its agenda of choice, equity, diversity, childcare and equal pay. It makes it very clear to those candidates that its support has conditions and that support will be withdrawn for subsequent elections if they do not try to implement ‘progressive reforms’. As a result of the 2008-10 Strategic Plan the organisation has put in place the “Next Generation” programme which is fostering the next generation of progressive Labor activists through means such as internship programmes.

The conditional support for its members is expressed by the following statement from Emily’s List:

“A critical mass of women is vital, but it is also important that the women who enter Parliament are serious about progressive policy development. Emily’s List expects its supported Members of Parliament to be advocates for change that benefits women and benefits communities.”1

So when we see that laws are being introduced that are anti-Christian and anti-family it is not by a fluke or chance. It comes as a result of affirmative action and Emily’s List. The Organisation says that it has helped get 139 ‘progressive’ Labor women into federal, state and territory parliaments and supported a further 151 women that missed out on election. As a result the Labor Party is being pushed more to the left of politics, closer to the Green Party’s ethos and further away from its Catholic tradition.

The power of Emily’s List in parliaments across Australia was noted by Opposition Leader Tony Abbott who said in 2008 that with control of one-quarter of the Labor Party, it is arguably Labor’s most powerful faction.

A look at some of its ‘achievements’ show that its members were instrumental in decriminalising abortion in WA, Victoria, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory. It takes credit for lifting a ban on the use of Australian Government money to support abortion as part of its foreign “aid” soon after Labor took office in 2007. When Tony Abbott was health minister it fought, successfully, through its parliamentary members, to introduce the abortion pill known as RU-486.

This takes us to this federal election. At this federal election it is providing financial support to 28 women, including 5 from WA. On the List is Fremantle parliamentarian member, Melissa Parke; Stirling member Louise Durack; Hasluck member Sharryn Jackson; and Canning candidate Alannah MacTiernan as well as Forrest candidate Jackie Jarvis.

In Tasmania, Franklin member Julie Collins is getting Emily support as well as former Tasmanian State Labor Government Minister, and now Federal senate candidate, Lisa Singh.

After the election Emily’s List may have even more influence in Federal Parliament if women such as Alannah MacTiernan or Lisa Singh get elected.

The election provides an opportune time to express concern about Emily’s List directly to those on the List in your electorate, to their opponents, as well as the Prime Minister and leader of the Opposition. Even more effective, write to your local newspapers and speak on talk back radio.

You may want to pose questions such as: How much financial support have you received from Emily’s List for this election and previous election? Does Emily’s List provide you with helpers to run your office in this campaign or previous campaigns? Do you receive training from Emily’s List?

You may want to express concern that given the support that she receives from Emily’s List, she may feel compelled to promote the List’s agenda in parliament over and above the views and needs of people in her electorate.

You may want to suggest that you or a fellow church member would welcome explaining these concerns to her in person. You may want to explain what the Bible has to say about things such as homosexuality, euthanasia and abortion.

To be most effective, however, you may consider writing an open letter to the Emily’s List candidate. That means forwarding on the same letter to members of the other parties in the same electorate and the editor of your local newspaper. Remember at all times to state clearly your name, what your address is and your federal electorate and to ask for a reply. It only takes a few minutes and one letter in the next two weeks, but that letter will then get noticed. Ask your friends to write a letter also.

Further reading:

1. Make a Difference: How EMILY’s List is working to achieve gender equity in Parliament, paper presented to the Women’s Constitutional Convention in Canberra, 2002. See <>