The Dawn Chorus

Fresh Australian Feminism

The Age‘s Tracee Hutchison Farewells Natasha Stott-Despoja

Posted by Clem Bastow on June 28, 2008

It’s always great when we get to combine two tops chicks in the one post, it’s just a shame that the reason behind this particular instance is the end of an era: the wondrous Tracee Hutchison has written a great piece in today’s Age, ‘Farewell To A Brilliant Smasher Of Ceilings’, saluting Natasha Stott Despoja, as The Democrats leave Australian federal parliament.

I vividly remember Stott Despoja kicking goals in politics and making it seem (as it should) cool for young Australian women to take a stand and fight for what they believed in; Tracee says she “made politics sexy”, but more than that, she made it seem like any young Australian woman could make their way to the top and have their voice heard. But then, sadly and predictably, the backlash began. As Tracee says:

I remember Stott Despoja’s press conference in August 2002 — as she announced her resignation as Democrats leader — as one of the saddest political moments I can recall. All that hope and potential smashed by what seemed to be territorial myopia of Boomers who didn’t get it. The Democrats never recovered.

Its a salient point to remember that in 2001, with Stott Despoja as leader, the Democrats got six people elected in six months, including four Senate seats. There hasn’t been a Democrat elected since the South Australian state election in 2002.

The piece is far from a funereal focus on what could have been, though, and instead celebrates what was – and what could be in the future, thanks to Stott Despoja’s trailblazing. Go read the whole article here, and have a drink to Natasha Stott Despoja today.


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