In an interview that aired on The Sunday Project, Lisa Wilkinson noted that during the bush fires last summer, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian defined her leadership.
“You were as popular as the PM was, at the time, unpopular,” Wilkinson said.
Now, in the midst of a global pandemic, when her role as a leader has never mattered more, Berejiklian says she prefers not to comment on matters of gender when it comes to politics.
When Wilkinson asked the premier if politics is a “boy’s club”, especially in light of the recent feud between NSW MPs John Barilaro and Andrew Constance over the upcoming Eden-Monaro byelection, Berejikilian was not interested in commenting.
“Many professions have disproportionate numbers of women in them,” she told Wilkinson. “And I choose not to comment on those matters. I want people to reflect on my performance as the premier and as the leader.”
“I used to say to my colleagues, don’t stress unless it’s life and death. Well in the pandemic, it is life and death. I never used to be one to worry about my health, and my mental health, but I do now because I’ve got to make a decision that will affect a lot of people.” pic.twitter.com/XT7GyWXOBo— The Project (@theprojecttv) May 17, 2020
Wilkinson mentioned that Julie Bishop only said there was a problem with gender in politics after she left. But if you want change, shouldn’t you do something about it when it’s happening, and when you have the power to do something about it?
“Well I actually disagree with that statement,” Berejiklian said. “I think the best way to deal with those stereotypes and deal with those comments is by doing a good job in your job.”
“If I do a good job as premier, people won’t say ‘she’s a good female premier’, they will say ‘she’s a good premier’ and then the stereotype about what leadership looks like, changes.”
Astonishingly, Berejiklian admitted she’s never watched Julia Gillard’s now famed misogyny speech. She says she’s only seen commentary surrounding it.
“I’m not going to talk about those issues. I respect any woman who speaks up and speaks her mind, as I do any man who speaks their mind.”
Asked if she was relieved not to have to be “polite” to shock jock Alan Jones anymore after he announced his retirement from radio, Berejiklian said she respects anyone who “gets to the top of their profession.”
“I think we need to have complete consistency and call this out at all times, at all levels.”
“People tend to use gender politics in whichever way, for motives that are not always pure.”