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I was over ‘it’ before ‘it’ was over.

04 September 2013

I was over ‘it’ before ‘it’ was over. ‘It’ being the election we had to have. The antics, the grandstanding, the political point scoring at any expense, the cult of the individual, the karaoke…  correct me, but did anyone hear any mention of the word Labour and Liberal or was it all about Kevin and Tony?

I was left wondering what has happened to politics in Australia, and where are the leaders for us to follow knowing they are leading something more than their egos.

It must be bad if more than 900,000 Australians sought answers about where they stood on the political spectrum from the ABC’s Vote Compass, a questionnaire of 30 policy-based questions designed to establish which political party is most aligned with your beliefs and priorities.

Of course, on voting day, other things may have ended up influencing you - the parties and your long standing ties and beliefs, as well as local issues - but many of the people I know who answered the Vote Compass questions were surprised to discover they weren’t quite what they thought.

In a campaign where leaders, and by default the parties they lead, became some sort of peculiar piece of performance art that left viewers lost and confused and sometimes disgusted, it’s no wonder we needed Vote Compass.

The really big disappointment in the whole process was we finally got a Paid Parental Leave (PPL) policy put forward that appeared to actually support working mothers, as well as showing some form of real commitment, and instead of trying to do better, the argument and effort went in to pulling it apart and making it about class war.

The women who earn $150K and who dream of having a family and actually get to do it are few and far between. In fact, women, family and well-paid work are a rare and uncommon occurrence. Why, because for a woman to get to the level where she can command such a salary (and if she wants a family) it’s pretty much impossible without paid parental leave and good childcare.

If we want to increase our skilled workforce, our productivity, the ‘smarts’ in Australia, the last thing we should be doing is destroying a committed PPL policy. A properly paid leave policy puts having a family and a life on the same par as working, finally.

Our Women of Influence nominations have closed. The staggering 60 per cent growth in entries has been very encouraging. As part of the first level of the rigorous judging process I’ve spent many hours reading through and assessing all of the entries. And I can tell you there’s real talent out there. So why is the political landscape so dire?

Perhaps women have better things to do than become bit parts in a soap opera?

Certainly, choosing the top 100 Women of Influence isn’t going to be easy. The quality was consistently high, and there were some absolute standouts in the Innovation category. I’m excited about presenting the winners in October and even more excited about the prospect of 2014. Each year the awards expand the ranks and push the boundaries around what success looks like, what influence means and how that affects the way we think about leadership.

I’m away in Turkey for the Global Banking Alliance Summit in September and I’ll be more than mulling over how we promote these women on the world stage and most importantly how we can promote women wherever they live to realise their potential.

One way of promoting this is through our Ruby Learning Series for Business. Piloted in Melbourne and Sydney in August the series concentrated on the importance of a business plan, online strategies, cash flow and, of course, networking. The feedback’s been more than encouraging; the participants enthusiastic. The presenters were on top of their game. Our women loved the personal, informative nature of the workshops, the breadth of topics covered and the chance to meet and talk with other business women.

In September, in fact on September 18, we’re taking a further step in the promotion of women and women owned businesses to ensure their success.

Did you know the Westpac Group has more than 100 categories of spend where partners play a crucial role in unlocking value to help our customers and community prosper and grow?

Our suppliers are our partners and they’re important to the success of the Westpac Group.

We’re offering you some insights into the way Westpac sourcing procedures operate. Get the tips for submitting a tender for business; the dos and don’ts to ensure your submission receives attention. The team will also provide insights on managing the procurement process within your own business.

WeConnect International – an organisation dedicated to connecting female business owners and large corporates, ensuring women are well represented in the supply chain - will also be our guests. Come along (click here to book) and meet your business future: Wednesday 18 September 2013; 12pm for 12.30pm Start – 2pm; The Forum, Level 23 275 Kent Street. Cost $20 donation to charity includes light luncheon.