Yesterday I had the privilege of hosting a participant of the Jasiri Australia Girls Takeover Parliament program. The Girls Takeover Parliament program aims to encourage more women to enter parliament and does this by hosting young women from the ages of 13 to 25 in the office of a member of parliament to provide them with skills and experience and to encourage them to pursue future political careers or public leadership positions. The program aims to encourage more women to become involved in politics as a way of encouraging further gender equality across Australia.
As we know, women make up less than half of the Australian parliament, as opposed to making up roughly half of the Australian population. Encouraging more women to enter politics is a crucial step towards having a genuinely representative democracy and to making sure that women are not only given a voice in politics but also given equal representation on significant national issues, such as women's superannuation, the tampon tax and domestic violence.
As part of this program, I hosted a first-year university student from the Australian National University named Savannah Benson, and she is here in the gallery today and wrote this speech for me. Savannah accompanied me to important meetings and took over in my office yesterday, gaining valuable experience of the workings of the Australian parliament whilst also gaining important skills and knowledge to pursue her interests in politics and to encourage more young women, such as herself, to pursue political careers.