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Job-sharing political candidates want an Australian first

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Job-sharing politicians would allow greater skillsets and perspectives in Canberra, according to two women making the push for parliament.
Job-sharing politicians

Two women have launched an independent campaign to win a seat at the next federal election.

Bronwen Bock and Lucy Bradlow hope to run together for the same seat, sharing the responsibilities of a federal politician. This has never been attempted before in Australian politics.

Bock and Bradlow will contest the seat of Higgins in suburban Melbourne. It has traditionally been a Liberal seat, but was won by Labor at the 2022 election.

The next federal election must be held on or before 27 September 2025.

Job-sharing politicians

Bradlow and Bock, childhood friends, call themselves “community-backed independents”, similar to the ‘teal’ independents that won many city seats at the 2022 election.

Like the teals, their key policies are stronger action on climate change and integrity in government. However, they are not funded by Climate 200, who supported teal candidates in 2022.

Bradlow is a lawyer who has worked at the Australian Workplace Gender Equality Agency and for former Labor Senator Kristina Keneally. Bock is a finance professional who has worked for the Macquarie Group and REA Group.

Job-sharing

Bradlow and Bock plan on splitting the work as the MP for Higgins if they win the election.

Job-sharing is a working arrangement often used in the private sector where two employees share the salary and responsibilities of one job.

“Neither of us is able to take on the out of hours or travel demands of being a full time federal politician,” Bradlow said.

“But together, we bring two sets of skills and experience, fresh perspectives, and new energy to the role.”

How would it work?

Bronwen and Bock propose a ‘week-on, week-off’ arrangement, whereby one candidate would ‘hand over’ the job to the other at the end of every week.

They would have the same email address and diary, and make joint decisions about how they vote.

Bradlow and Bock plan on splitting the salary, entitlements and expenses allotted to a single MP. Under their arrangement, they could undertake paid or unpaid work outside of the MP role.

It’s not clear if the proposed job-sharing arrangement will be allowed.

Bradlow and Bock claim there’s no requirement for only one person to hold a seat in parliament.

Currently, ballot papers only have enough space for one candidate’s name. Bradlow and Bock have called on Parliament to amend electoral laws to allow two names to be included on nomination forms. They say they’ll advance the matter to the High Court if this doesn’t occur.

Parliament response

A spokesperson for Special Minister of State Don Farrell said the government “has placed a priority on improving the Commonwealth parliamentary workplace”, including further supports for those with different backgrounds and requirements.

However, they don’t support the job-sharing proposal.

Senate Opposition Leader Simon Birmingham also opposed the job-sharing proposal, telling the ABC it isn’t consistent with “the way in which our democracy was established”.

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