Miranda Devine has a very thoughtful article about gender politics, and, in particular, the parasite that is Emily’s List (my bolding).
Labor, however, has the opposite problem [to the Coalition], and one which carries more deleterious consequences, with an aggressive affirmative-action policy enforced by Emily’s List _ the unofficial pro-abortion feminist faction of the party.
The result is a higher percentage of its MPs are women, but the majority are signed up members of Emily’s List, a self-described political support network for “progressive” women.
In other words they don’t support women, just a particular type of woman, who agrees with the group’s chief preoccupation: abortion on demand, despite the fact the electorate is increasingly nuanced on the issue.
Most Australians are neither aggressively pro- or anti-abortion but judge by circumstances. In other words, they agree with Tony Abbott and Hillary Clinton that abortion should be “safe, legal, but rare”.
What that means is most Labor women subscribe to a narrow ideological view on social issues that does not represent the views of most women in the community _ an irony for a group that purports to promote “diversity“.
In effect, a single-issue lobby group has taken over the Labor party and no deviation from Emily’s List policy is tolerated.
The result is that the Labor Party further alienates itself from the electorate. This is neither good for women nor for the Labor Party.
It’s not something Labor men want to talk about publicly, but they sure are discussing it privately as being a significant part of the Labor Party’s current woes.
“It’s a parasite on the body politic,” says one retired Catholic Labor MP, who is still very influential in the party.
“It’s attached itself to the Labor party and it alienates voters, especially in marginal seats.”
When I mentioned this viewpoint to a well-connected Labor feminist last week she dismissed it out of hand, saying Julia Gillard would never have reached the top without Emily’s List.
That may be the point. Regardless of her pluckiness and personal qualities, it’s doubtful history will show the Gillard period to have been a great boon to the Labor party.
Instead, the ousting of Kevin Rudd and Gillard’s extraordinarily gaffe-prone reign will likely consign Labor to the wilderness for some time.
Gillard is entirely a creature of Emily’s List.
She was a founding member in 1996, with her mentor, the former Victorian premier Joan Kirner, and helped write its constitution.
Modelled after a similar pro-choice group in the US, it describes itself as a “financial, political and personal support network assisting in the election of progressive Labor women candidates”. EMILY stands for “Early Money Is Like Yeast”.
It boasts of its two great successes: driving abortion law reform in ACT, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia; and enshrining in Labor policy the “40/40/20 Affirmative Action Rule”, to ensure 40 per cent of women are preselected in winnable seats.
In 2008 Emily’s Listers cracked open the champagne to celebrate their greatest victory when the Victorian parliament passed the nation’s most liberal abortion laws, sanctioning abortion on demand up to 24 weeks of pregnancy.
There was no compromise brooked with feminists in their own party who attempted to soften the bill with amendments to include counselling services to inform women considering abortion of alternatives, or even to lower the cut-off date for abortions to 20 weeks. Emily’s Listers had the numbers and were determined to have their way.
But the more successful they are at pushing extreme feminist policies, the less electable Labor will become.
And as Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney is showing in the US, where he has all but closed the female gender gap with President Barrack Obama among likely female voters in swing states, elections are not won on single issues.