Michaelia Cash was first elected to parliament at the 2007 federal elections. Since entering Federal Parliament she has been elected to the Senate Standing Committee on Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties and the Regulations and Ordinances Committee. In September 2010 Cash was appointed the Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for the Status of Women and the Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Immigration.
Growing up, what kind of career did you want to pursue?
At university I initially studied journalism, public relations, and politics and then I studied law.
As a passionate Federalist I always saw my future in representing the Western Australian people in either the State or Federal Parliament. I have long held the belief that wherever it is consistent with good policy, we should seek to make decisions that, whilst reflecting the national interest, uphold and respect the interests of the states.
As former Prime Minister Sir Robert Menzies was heard to say after a fiery and contentious Premiers Conference, ‘Six state premiers send me up the wall, but I would not have it any other way because it is our insurance against dictatorship.’
. … and as a little girl, what did you imagine working life to be like?
My father was a former Minister and President of the WA Legislative Council, so I was very aware of the commitment needed to succeed in politics and therefore didn’t underestimate the hard work involved!
I have always been aware that being involved in politics was a seven-day-a-week commitment and I enjoy every minute of it!
Who inspires you?
Former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher is a person who inspires me for the way in which she overcame political adversity to promote her economic policies and succeed in strengthening the UK economy.
As former British Labor MP Oona King said at the time of Prime Minister Thatcher’s election: “I did not care if Thatcher was the devil, it meant so much to me that I was growing up when two women – she and the Queen – were running the country.”
I am also inspired by the many volunteers who give generously of their time, knowledge and experience to assist others and who have helped build Australia into a nation in which we can have immense pride.
What qualities do you most admire in a female colleague?
Someone who has attributes and values that include compassion, commitment, cooperation, honesty, wisdom and of course, the ability to laugh at oneself!
You are a role model for women, how do you think you can assist in their success?
By demonstrating that you can succeed in life if you are prepared to stand up, speak out and be relied upon for having the courage of your convictions. And of course never shy away from hard work!I would love to see more women entering political life and I am always willing to support quality female candidates in whatever way I can.
What is the best path to success in your field of endeavor?
Hard work and more hard work!
Making sure you are in touch with the issues that everyday Australians care about.
What brings you sadness?
As an animal lover and someone who has three (very indulged) Persians – animal cruelty brings me sadness. Animals, in particular pets, innocently put their trust in us, giving us unconditional love. To see that trust and unconditional love betrayed by either physical abuse or neglect is heartbreaking.
What personal attributes have you used to overcome adversity in your life?
Perseverance and persistence. Having strong beliefs and confidence in the foundation of your core values provides the strength and commitment to succeed in the face of adversity. In life generally you need to be sure of what you believe in and, when tested, be prepared to stand up for these beliefs.
I support the words of the Dalai Lama who is quoted as saying: “Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values”.
I also subscribe to the words of the Reverend Theodore Hesburgh: “The very essence of leadership is that you have to have vision. You can’t blow an uncertain trumpet”.
What book/film/artist/soundtrack changed your life?
They may not have changed my life but they always make me laugh – Any novel by Tom Sharpe (born March 30, 1928) who is an English satirical author. Sharpe is considered by some to be Britain’s funniest living novelist.
What’s your motto?
I have two! The first is what my parents taught their four children: To achieve you have to work hard – to achieve more, you simply have to work harder.
The second quote is a simple lesson from the Reverend Jesse Jackson: Never look down on anybody unless you are helping them up.