Recently I attended a book launch. Now you might think “And?? Book Launches happen all the time?”
You are correct however this one was different, and I knew that even before I bought the ticket to attend.
It was different for me because of a few reasons including:
1) I attended it alone
2) It was an hour’s drive to the venue & back
3) I already had the book however hadn’t turned to the 1st page before attending.
Still, you think “And???”
I attended it alone because for this book launch I didn’t want any distractions. I wanted to be fully present to hear the Author and her Host as I felt strongly that what they would be sharing could transcend the actual book. I had a feeling that the event held some powerful messages.
I drove the hour there and an hour back, at night. That in and of itself let me know that if I was happy to do that then my intuition of what to expect was right!
Although I had eagerly awaited the book my life was so busy lately that I hadn’t had time to turn a page!
Sex, Lies and Question Time! With a title like that attending the book launch to get the ‘back story’ was mandatory.
Arriving at the venue Author Kate Ellis was close by and as is her nature, even though she was busy getting ready for the start she took the time to say a joyful ‘Hi’ and beam her trademark smile.
Kate Ellis is a former Australian Federal MP. In 2004 at the age of 30, Kate became the youngest woman to be elected to Federal Parliament. Her political career spanned an impressive 15 years. Following her retirement, she put pen to paper and started writing this book however little did she know that when it would be launched, Australia would already be in the middle of a political crisis based on ever-increasing reports of sexual harassment, sexual abuse, misogyny and gendered based violence in the very place she worked for all those years.
They say, ‘timing is everything’. Kate couldn’t have planned the launch better!
The venue was full which I had already expected.
As Kate and her Host, close friend and Former Senator Natasha Stott Despoja, casually settled in on stage and as they shared what was clearly a closeness the audience chatter subsided in anticipation.
Natasha’s introduction combined words of edification along with understanding given that she has shared the political experience of which is the foundation for Kate’s book. Her opening question was met with an answer that proved to me my intuition for the evening was correct, this was more than a book launch.
“If you believe in fighting for change, there is no better job than being in Parliament”
Sex, Lies and Question Time is a book that unveils the life of a woman in politics. Exploring what other female politicians have experienced, Kate expertly shines the light on all of it – the good, bad, ugly and downright disgusting. The toxic culture that exists in Canberra is reconfirmed on every page and adds to the current groundswell of #EnoughIsEnough.
Whilst Kate and Natasha peppered the conversation with their experiences of ‘1st day Dress Judging’ highlighting Natasha’s much written about Doc Martens with her ‘Cheap Portmans Purple Suit’, equally Kate’s recollection of the ‘sisterhood’ or lack thereof was another confirmation that even beyond politics, women have a long way to go.
They discussed the ‘quota’ debate and it was clear that even quotas aren’t the solution for the lack of women in Governments. They both shared their opinions on what needs to happen however were quite clear that the task ahead is hard yet achievable.
The ‘messages’ woven throughout were strong and deliberate. Kate wants women to get into politics. She wants young women to understand that whilst they are seeing negativity played out before them through the media, all justified, it is about the change that is occurring. The change for women to rise up strongly and to take their seats at the decision-making table. She wants the women that are in Parliament at the moment to remember they are also Role Models for the women of Australia and to make sure that everything they do and say reflects that positive leadership stance.
Kate was inspiring, strong, funny, genuine and authentic. Whilst I am not a ‘young woman’ she certainly gave me food for thought personally and for that, I was grateful I was there.
Sex, Lies and Question Time is a book for all people. It is a great read and equally important, a form of ‘guide’ to help those who want to enter politics. It will help navigate, respect and support pathways in whatever profession chosen. Thought-provoking and a great help for personal lives as well.
Referring to her hope for the future of Government in Canberra, Kate summed it up perfectly – “I don’t want people to burn it down…I just want people to take it over!”
To order your copy of Sex, Lies and Question Time go to www.sheroesunlimited.com SHOP or from your favourite book store.
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– Heart Hugs, Jaynie xxx
Jaynie Morris is an Author, Speaker and Advocate for Women over 50. She is the Founder of SheroesUnlimited Global Community for Women Over 50.