Today we continue our series Women in Politics, with Michaelia Cash, the Senator for Western Australia (Liberal), who hit the headlines back in June when she attacked Senator Penny Wong for betraying Julia Gillard and ‘the sisterhood’.
Despite being in office for just one term, Senator Michaelia Cash, has already proven to be a dynamic force in the Australian political scene.
Within 2 years of being elected, Senator Cash was promoted to the Opposition’s front bench as Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Immigration and the Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for the Status of Women.
Born in the Perth suburb of Subiaco, the daughter of Ursula Cash and the Hon. George Cash AM, a former President of the Western Australian Legislative Council and WA Government Minister, her political lineage has undoubtedly fueled her passion for politics. Growing up with a politician at home also provided Michaelia Cash with a real understanding of the realities of political life.
“My father was a Minister and President of the WA Legislative Council, so I have always been acutely aware of the commitment needed to succeed in politics. I have never underestimated the hard work involved,” Senator Cash told Australian Women Online.
“I have always known that being involved in politics was a seven-day-a-week commitment and I enjoy every minute of it. My parents taught my siblings and I that in order to achieve you have to work hard – to achieve more, you simply have to work harder. It’s my personal motto and I truly believe that by being successful in whatever you do, requires you to stand up, speak out and have the courage of your convictions.”
Senator Cash’s political pedigree includes studies in law and a legal career.
An Honours Degree in Law from the University of London and subsequent appointment as a senior employment and industrial lawyer at national law firm Freehills, provided her with valuable insight into the Federal Industrial Relations system and a wealth of knowledge she draws on with regard to the legislative process.
During her time at Freehills, Ms Cash practiced in all areas of employment and industrial law including industrial relations, employee relations, occupational health and safety, equal opportunity, executive employment and unfair dismissal.
Senator Cash possesses an astute ability to effectively communicate her views both in the Senate and in her media engagements. Effective communication is not a skill possessed by all senior political leaders, or something that comes naturally to everybody. But the Senator feels at home engaging at all levels. This may have something to do with her undergraduate degree from Curtin University, where she graduated with a triple major in public relations, politics and journalism.
As the Coalition’s spokesperson for the Status of Women, she is dedicated to fostering a culture within our nation where women are full and active participants in all spheres of public and private life, across a wide range of decision-making positions.
“Australian women are passionate, talented and across the board more highly educated than their male peers,” Senator Cash said.
“If women are discounted or left out of decision making processes then we are not just leaving out a broad range of knowledge, wisdom and experience, we are also failing to utilise half the human capital of the nation, and that is a great shame. We must all strive to make a difference, by encouraging skilled and talented women to aspire to a higher profile and more challenging roles.”
The Senator says she is dedicated to bringing violence against women to the forefront of the political agenda.
“I think it’s important that those in power today, work hard towards leaving a legacy for Australians that ensures that domestic violence is tackled and does not become intergenerational,” she said.
“Women seeking to escape from domestic violence currently deal with an uncoordinated and uncertain system, looking for court support, refuge, counselling for themselves and their children and appropriate housing. I am committed in continuing to improve the safety of women and children through initiatives designed to enhance community safety, raise community awareness, deter violence and ensure support and assistance for the victims of violence.”
She is undoubtedly one of the rising stars of Tony Abbott’s Shadow Frontbench and has been pegged as ‘one to watch’.
“I feel so lucky to be able to get up every morning and represent the Western Australian people in the national political arena. “There is nothing I would rather be doing, and I am grateful for the privilege and will continue to work as hard as I can long into the future.”