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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

Janine Haines: in memoriam « Previous | |Next »
November 29, 2004

Federal Parliament paid its respects and tributes to Janine Haines, the former Democrat leader, who died last week.

I'm currently reading her book Sufferage to Sufferance: 100 years of women in politics. In it she remarks that she once commented to a forum in 1990 that:

" has been my misfortunate lot over the last 25 years of my life to belong three of the most reviled, underrated and overworked professions in the world. In that time I had been, occassionally simultaneously, a mother, a teacher and a politician. If one of me wasn't being blamed for the problems of the world one of the others was."

She said that the response that greeted these throwaway lines indicated that she wasn't the only one in the room who occassionally felt put upon.

Haine's book is written within the enlightened liberal feminist tradition, and is primarily concerned with the discrimination, prejudice and hurdles women had to confront and fight to make their career in politics. It is concerned to vindicate the rights of woman.It's criticism is that Western society does not guarantee to women all the rights that it considers appropriate to the status of being human. So the argument is that the liberal principles of equality, freedom and equality of opportunity must be fully extended to women.

Hence Haine's encouragement and support for such measures as anti-discrimination and equal pay legislation in the hope that they will help to end the discrimination against women.

From I understand from listening to the various parliamentary tributes in the Senate Janine Haines was a social liberal, which is to be distinguished from the laissez-faire liberalism that re-emerged since the 1970s and 1980s as ‘market liberalism’ or ‘neo-liberalism’ or ‘economic rationalism’. Social liberalism works with the idea of the ethical state committed to the common good and equal opportunity. This is sthe tradtion of the 'fair go', which gave rise to the distinctively Australian institution of wage arbitration, and to other aspects of the welfare state such as public education and health, parks, unemployment benefits and pensions.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 5:31 PM | | Comments (0)