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04 November 2018

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I campaigned for a provincial seat in 1987 after 17 years living in the electorate. A candidate in an adjoining electorate informed me, “You haven’t got a chance as you have done little campaigning!”

I explained to him that I might not have done very much since the legal campaigning period began but that in fact I had lived, worked, socialised and worshipped with the people of my area for 17 years. They knew all about me including any bad things and also the good. I won.

I think the now long established way of diminishing the prospects of a woman winning is for clever party hacks to persuade a woman she should stand as 'you have a good chance!’

This happens with several of the main parties and we have woman versus woman vying to win. The answer to this is as you say - pool resources and all female candidates advise electors to vote strategically by casting preference votes 1,2, 3 for women only.

I recall the first election I ran in 1972. Three small islets were one local government seat and the incumbent had been there from the establishment of the council. A good councillor too.

After closing the polls, I would publicly count the votes and pronounce the result. To my amazement the only female candidate had no votes.

After congratulating the winner, I was able to speak to the lady. “Why didn’t you vote for yourself?” I asked. Her answer has lasted with me: “Mi seim long votim mi iet!”

'I was ashamed to vote for myself!'

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