Kate Ellis bursts the Canberra bubble to reveal what life is like for our female MPs, and why it’s the best and worst job in the world.
Release Date: End of March, 2021
In Sex, Lies and Question Time, former MP Kate Ellis explores the good, the bad and the ugly of life as a woman in Australian politics.
Seventy-seven years after the first woman entered Australian parliament, female politicians are still the minority. They cop scrutiny over their appearance, their sex lives, their parenting and their portfolios in a way few of their male colleagues do. It’s time to call bullshit on the toxic Canberra culture.
Alongside her own experiences from fifteen years in parliament, Kate Ellis reveals a frank and fascinating picture of women across Australian politics, including Julia Gillard, Julie Bishop, Linda Burney, Sussan Ley, Penny Wong, Sarah Hanson-Young and Pauline Hanson. Kate explores issues like sexism, motherhood, appearances, social media, the sisterhood and, of course, sex. But she also celebrates everything Australian female politicians have achieved.
Wry, candid and provocative, Sex, Lies and Question Time is a powerful call to demand more of our leaders and our institutions. It reminds us we need greater diversity to shape a fairer Australia, where ‘women’s issues’ are everyone’s issues. A better parliament means a better Australia. The stakes are high, and the standards should be too.
Kate Ellis represented Adelaide in the Australian House of Representatives for Labor from 2004 until 2019. She served in multiple portfolios in the outer ministry of the 2007–13 federal Labor government and was in shadow Cabinet until she left parliament at the 2019 federal election. She is a passionate supporter of the Adelaide Crows and the mother of two young boys.
‘A raw and searing account of the treatment of women in Australian politics combined with an upbeat message about the future, this book will make you gasp, shed a tear, laugh at the sheer absurdity of it all and get vocal about the need for change.’ – Julia Gillard
‘Kate Ellis has produced the definitive account of the “ditch the witch” generation of Australian political women. Read it. This book could not be more important or timely.’
– Katharine Murphy, the Guardian
‘Kate Ellis trains an unflinching eye on the toxic culture that women have endured in Australian politics for far too long. With candour and heart she speaks to women across the political spectrum to share the shocking stories of the attempts to keep women down and out. But it’s also the story of the women who have refused to be silenced, and whose achievements are astounding. Sex Lies and Question Time is an essential read for every Australian.’ – Jacinta Parsons
‘I thought I knew it all, but Kate Ellis’s insider account of the never-ending abuse of women in federal parliament absolutely shocked me. This book needed to be written’
– Anne Summers
‘Kate Ellis’ new book is a fascinating insider’s account of how Australia’s Federal Parliament has fallen behind when it comes to the experiences of women in the workplace, and a compelling call for its modernisation. Kate draws on the direct experiences of women from every side of politics, taking us on a journey of persistence through the challenges, indignities – and the joys – of the job for female parliamentarians. This book is needed now more than ever as we look to our elected leaders to guide Australia’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. I urge anyone with an interest in Australian politics, gender equality, and the future of work to read it.’ – Kate Jenkins, Sex Discrimination Commissioner