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Applications for the Pathways to Politics Program for Women close on the 11th of April.

Current and former politicians from across the political spectrum, speechwriters and senior executives will be amongst the high profile presenters in Australia’s first University-led program committed to addressing the ongoing under-representation of women in politics.

The Pathways to Politics Program for Women is a non-partisan program, made possible by a generous donation from the Trawalla Foundation. It is modeled on Harvard University’s initiative, ‘From Harvard Square to the Oval Office’ and is targetting women interested in seeking elected office.

The Program will include workshops dealing with the structure of political parties, polling, political ethics, policy formulation, how to run campaigns and public speaking. The program aims to provide a combination of hard skills as well as promoting aspirational leadership.

Presenters in the program include:

•    Dame Quentin Bryce, 25th Governor-General of Australia
•    Kate Chapple, former speechwriter for Governor-General of Australia
•    Mary Delahunty MP, former Victorian Education Minister and journalist (ALP)
•    Prof Carolyn Evans, Dean of Melbourne Law School
•    Jane Garrett MP, Minister for Emergency Services in Victoria (ALP)
•    Dr Simon Longstaff AO, executive Director of The Ethics Centre
•    Kelly O’Dwyer MP, Assistant Treasurer (Liberal Party)
•    Fiona Patten MP, Leader of the Australian Sex Party
•    Ellen Sandell MP, State Member for Melbourne (Greens)
•    Carol Schwartz AM, Chair of the Women’s Leadership Institute Australia
•    Prof Helen Sullivan, Director of the Melbourne School of Government
•    Senator Penny Wong, Shadow Minister for Trade and Investment (ALP)
•    Mary Wooldridge MP, Victorian Shadow Minister for Health (Liberal)

Margaret Fitzherbert, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Women's Health & Rural and Regional Health said she was pleased to be involved in the push to make parliaments more representative.

“I’m delighted that one of Australia’s best universities will run a program to help increase the number of women MPs in Australia,” she said.

Fiona Patten, founder and leader of the Australian Sex party said, as one of the few female leaders of a political party, that the Program was a step in the right direction.

“The under-representation of women in the Australian parliament is a serious issue. I’m glad this course is addressing it from a grass-roots level. I’m hopeful this will lead to more women involved in politics,” said Ms Patten.

At the launch of the Pathways to Politics Program for Women, Deputy Leader of the Opposition Tanya Plibersek said it was a terrific initiative for women entering politics.

“We’ve had a female Prime Minister a female Governor General, we’ve had female premiers and governors in many states,” said Ms Plibersek. “Of course things are better, but we need to do better still to reach full equality in Australia.”