By Matt Johnston Cover 📷: Tony Gough
As many political parties struggle to retain women in top jobs, the fledgling Reason Party has had an entirely different experience.
As well as the party leadership position, held by state MP and former Sex Party founder Fiona Patten, women have secured the roles of convener, secretary, treasurer and party manager.
Ms Patten said she didn’t set out for it to be this way, and jokes about the idea of a secret anti-male agenda.
“No, no, I love them,” she said.
“The idea of gender balance in politics is important, it’s not that women are better but balance is.”
Party manager Emma Sinclair, who jumped ship from the Greens to run Reason’s volunteer program during the state election, said she decided to take up a senior party role because there was no philosophical stance blocking sensible responses to big issues.
“It’s really focused on outcomes rather than ideology,” she said.
Emblazoned with tattoos and sporting flame-coloured hair, Ms Sinclair knows she might stand out in a conformist state parliament.
So will the party’s agenda this term, which includes controversial policies such as legalising and regulating cannabis, pill testing at music festivals, and changing tax breaks for religious institutions.
Ms Patten said it was time to look differently at problems such as drug abuse, but the party knows it must first get a wide cross-section of the public on board.
“It’s about bringing the community with us,” she said.
This was part of the reason that the old Sex Party brand had to go.