When our US-based contributor Meggie Palmer saw the list of 15 people who had been appointed ‘patrons of mateship’ to mark our relationship with the United States, she saw a common theme.
They were all male, and all white.
And so she started investigating why, but heard nothing from the Department of Foreign Affairs prior to publishing this piece about the problem on Women’s Agenda.
Late last week Australia’s ambassador to the US Joe Hockey responded, tweeting that he had seen the story, that he accepts responsibility, and that more ‘mates’ are being invited.
I have seen this story and I agree that it should be fixed. I accept responsibility. Only ALL former Presidents PMs and Ambassadors from both countries were originally invited. (Incl JG). More currently being invited (MD was first to respond). https://t.co/QrGE5nq2Ry
— Joe Hockey (@JoeHockey) July 5, 2018
The current list includes former presidents, prime ministers, ambassadors and one sportsman, basketballer Matthew Dellavedova (whom Hockey refers to in the above tweet as being the first to respond).
As Meggie asked, why isn’t Julia Gillard on the list (Hockey confirms above she was invited). And if sportspeople make the cut, why not basketballers Ben Simmons or Lauren Jackson?
(You can also have your say in this survey that Meggie has put together, to let DFAT know who you think embodies ‘mateship’. She’ll be sharing the results with us shortly)
.@dfat just emailed me to say they’re reviewing @JoeHockey’s stale, pale & male ‘Mateship Patrons’ program following my article in @WomensAgenda. DFAT says in future program will be balanced & reflect #diversity of 🇦🇺& 🇺🇸 https://t.co/t5hCE0fGao pic.twitter.com/cpciG9cbNi
— Meggie Palmer (@MeggiePalmer) July 5, 2018
The mateship list currently includes:
· Malcolm Turnbull
· Kevin Rudd
· John Howard
· George H.W Bush
· John Berry
· Tom Scheiffer
· Melvin F. Sembler
· Michael Thawley
· Andrew Peacock
· Don Russell
· Michael Cook
· FR Dalrymple
· Jimmy Carter
· Kim Beazley
· Matthew Dellavedova
A big thank you to Meggie for pursuing this story. We look forward to seeing a more diverse list in the near future.