Emily’s List

Prime Minister Julia Gillard spoke at the Inaugural EMILY’S List Oration in Canberra on 13 September 2011. She said EMILY’S List retains every part of its original urgency and relevance. [1] “Our job is not done yet,” the PM said. “This is no time to fold up the banners or put away the cheque book.” [2] So what is it that Julia Gillard thinks is urgent and relevant and where does she fit into EMILY’S List?


Although EMILY’S List was not officially launched until 1996 it’s journey began in Australia in 1994. That year “the ALP National Conference passed an Affirmative Action Rule requiring women to be preselected in 35% of winnable seats at all elections in 2002. Note that EMILY’S List does not pre-select candidates for the ALP but supports, financially and electorally, those selected who subscribe to their principles. Among the progressive women who drove this change were Julia Gillard [currently Prime Minister and] former Premiers, Joan Kirner and Carmen Lawrence.” [3] In fact, Julia Gillard “was responsible for drafting the affirmative action rules within the Labor Party in Victoria.” [4]

Knowing Julia Gillard’s involvement in the Socialist Forum in the 1980’s and her links to the Communist Party of Australia one could come to the conclusion that EMILY’S List is just another means by which that socialist agenda can be advanced. [5]

However, as their website notes, they were concerned when not only were there less women pre-selected in 1995 for ‘winnable seats’ but 16 new conservative women were elected to the Federal Parliament in 1996. Out of this concern developed a core group of Labor women with the goal of providing a political, financial and campaign support network to ensure women were pre-selected and elected. In it’s first 9 years they successfully raised over $500,000 and helped elect 123 of the 148 Labour women to Parliaments across the country.


What is it that the members of EMILY’S List want to achieve? Historically they have had an overt commitment to affirmative action meaning that men are discriminated against “in employment and promotion until an equal number of women are employed at all levels” [6] regardless of merit. This was supposedly the reason that they were established. But was there a covert agenda?

The EMILY’S list website makes it clear that abortion is one of their key platform positions—”We believe women must have control over their own bodies and choices in their lives.” [7] However you could be forgiven if you thought that it is the key platform position. “The principles to which EMILY’S List Australia expects its supported candidates to adhere … Choice [8] and contraceptive rights are an important issue and one of the key policy priorities for EMILY’S List Australia…” [8]

Their website boasts that “The election of EMILY’S List MPs across Australia has also led progressive reforms for women, including, Abortion Law reform in ACT, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia.” [9] Note what comes first on their list of achievements. Significantly built into the fabric of EMILY’S List is the requirement that “Labor women support abortion in order to get assistance to be elected”. In addition “EMILY’S List won’t tolerate any restrictions on abortion, even for viable fullterm babies.” [6]

For example, Democrat Senator Mary Landrieu (Louisiana, USA) was supported by EMILY’S List to the tune of $112,000 to run for the Senate in 1996. She was cut-off from any funding in 2002 because she had supported the vote to ban partial-birth abortion. [6]

Their commitment to abortion can be seen in the list of significant milestones for MPs, as listed on their website [3] :

  • 1998 Cheryl Davenport MLC introduced legislation to decriminalise abortion in WA
  • 2002 Tasmanian Health Minister, Judy Jackson lead legislation to decriminalise abortion,
  • 2003 decriminalising abortion in ACT,
  • 2005 Senator Claire Moore co-initiated the TGA bill to allow greater access to RU486
  • 2007 Candy Broad’s private member’s bill to decriminalise abortion in Victoria was motivated by the controversy surrounding the abortion of a 32-week-old baby, Jessica, suspected of dwarfism. The bill was described by Andrew Bolt as a bill that would “let doctors kill children just like Jessica without any risk of prosecution.” [10]This bill was unsuccessful but Dr Lachlan Dunjey comments that the final abortion legislation passed in October 2008 “owes much to the influence of EMILY’s List.” [11]
  • Dr Lachlan Dunjey makes the following observation: “In Victoria we have unrestricted lateterm abortion, unrestricted eugenic selection of anything regarded as imperfect through to birth, and legal compulsion of doctors to act against their conscience – all this significantly due to the influence of EMILY’S List of which our PM Julia Gillard is a founder.” [11] This accords Victoria the worst abortion laws in the Western world.

    Who we elect determines the laws that govern us. It’s as simple as that.

    currently in the Federal Parliament:

    • Julia Gillard, MP Lalor, Victoria, Prime Minister
    • Sharon Grierson MP, Newcastle NSW
    • Julie Owens MP, Parramatta NSW
    • Tanya Plibersek MP, Sydney NSW, Minister for Health
    • Janelle Saffin MP, Page NSW
    • Sharon Bird MP, Cunningham NSW
    • Justine Elliot MP, Richmond NSW
    • Kate Lundy, Senator for the ACT
    • Penny Wong Senator, SA, Minister for Finance and Deregulation
    • Jenny Macklin MP, Jagajaga Victoria, Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and Minister for Disability Reform

    The full list of MPs in the Federal and State Parliaments is available on the EMILY’S List website. [12]

    NOTE: “EMILY’S List is an acronym that means Early Money is Like Yeast (it makes the dough rise). Early campaign money is often the most important a woman can have when heading into an election, enabling her to produce leaflets, deliver direct mail within their electorate and launch a website.” [13]

    1. http://christiangleanings.com/2011/10/pm-talks-to-emilys-list/
    2. www.pm.gov.au/press-office/inaugural-emilys-listoration-canberra
    3. www.emilyslist.org.au/about-us/our-history
    4. “Julia Gillard in Person” Counterpoint.yes 20 September 2004 Radio National
    5. She was also the legal advisor on the drafting of its constitution. October7, 2007 www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/will-julias-past-cause-red-faces/story-e6frf716-1111114587478 In fact the “Socialist Forum was a radical group that helped bring former members of the Communist Party into the Labor Party.” and she was still a member from 1998 to 2002 a period of time covering the formative years of EMILY’S List. www.heraldsun.com.au/opinion/andrew-bolt-doesyour-leader-lie/story-e6frfhqf-1226271224387
    6. http://www.endeavourforum.org.au/old/newsweekly_articles/emily.html Partial birth abortion is a barbaric late term procedure that even the US Supreme Court described as ’a gruesome and inhumane procedure
    that is never medically necessary and should be prohibited’.
    7. www.emilyslist.org.au/about-us/what-we-believe-in
    8. for ‘choice’ read ‘abortion’. The rhetoric of the prochoice movement hides the reality that they are totally pro-abortion and do not tolerate any other choice. Making a difference: How EMILY’S List is
    working to achieve gender equity in Parliaments Paper presented to the Women’s Constitutional Convention in Canberra on 12 June 2002 by Emily Lee-Ack, EMILY’S List Australia
    9. www.emilyslist.org.au/about-us/what-we-do
    10. http://blogs.news.com.au/couriermail/andrewbolt/index.php/couriermail/comments/column_a_vote_to_kill/asc/P60/
    11. http://www.chooselifeaustralia.org.au/life/the-voice-of-the-church-in-the-public-square-is-there-such-a-thing-as-a-christian-vote/
    12. www.emilyslist.org.au/our-mps
    13. http://www.emilyslist.org.au/about-us/what-we-do