Congratulations Georgia Betros -
recipient of the 2021 Bridget Whelan Scholarship!
30th August 2021
The Elizabeth Reid Network (ERN) is thrilled to announce Georgia Betros as the winner of the prestigious 2021 Bridget Whelan Scholarship.
Georgia has been a parliamentary and policy adviser to the Shadow Minister for Environment and Water, Terri Butler MP, for the past four years.
Georgia will use part of the Scholarship to expand her leadership and management skills by enrolling in the Australian Graduate School of Management @ UNSW Business School’s Women in Leadership Course (WIL).
“In the Elizabeth Reid Network’s 2021 survey, many current and former female political staff identified a lack of leadership and executive management training as a problem in Parliament. Some staff identified a link between this lack of training and the cultural problems that exist in Parliament House” said President of the ERN, Annie O’Rourke.
Georgia grew up in Toowoomba in regional Queensland and her paternal family are Lebanese. She is passionate about increasing female leadership in politics, as well as increasing the participation of young women of colour in staffing positions. She will use part of the Scholarship to conduct research into how to increase the number of female staff from diverse backgrounds working in politics. She hopes to use this research to establish and facilitate a network of CALD female staffers or potential staffers in Queensland.
Terri Butler MP said: "Ms Betros deploys her formidable intellect for the public good. She has an innate curiosity that drives her appetite to always learn as much as she can about any public policy issue that we're working on”
These qualities are matched by her deep compassion, her sense of justice, her quick wit, and her intention to make space for others -- as she has demonstrated through her proposal to use this year's Scholarship to help make the staffing corps more representative”.
Whilst the ALP is now on the precipice of gender parity in the Federal Parliament due to the adoption of an affirmative action policy, there still isn’t gender parity in senior staffing positions, and representation for both staff and politicians from CALD backgrounds is woefully lacking.
In the last Federal Election, only 1 in 10 candidates from the major parties came from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
“As part of the Jenkins Review, the ERN this year recommended the party adopt gender quotas for senior staff. Georgia’s research on ways to recruit, mentor and provide for a network of women from CALD backgrounds to work in politics will be very welcome” said Annie O’Rourke.
The announcement of the winner was made by the Leader of the Australian Labor Party, the Hon Anthony Albanese MP.
Funding for the Scholarship comes from contributions from former and current ALP MPs, Senators and Staff. This year Maurice Blackburn has come on board as our first ever corporate sponsor.
The judging panel is:
Tanya Plibersek - Shadow Minister for Women
Annie O’Rourke - President of the ER Network
Kirsten Mulley - Former State ALP Staffer and close friend to Bridget Whelen
Maurice Blackburn Lawyers, The Whelan Family, Alison Hill, Andrea Wilson, Andrew Dempster, Andrew Giles MP, Anika Wells MP, Brian Mitchell, Dr Anne Aly MP, Dr Anne Aly MP, Dr Jim Chalmers MP, Hon Tony, Burke MP, Jennifer Mason, Josh Wilson MP, Kate Thwaites MP, Kirsten Andrews, Patrick Possum Gorman, Senator Anne Urquhart, Sharon Claydon MP, Skye Laris, Hon Terri Butler MP, Virginia O’Halloran
Excerpt of Georgia Betros's Acceptance Speech
Annie O - President of the ERN
The Hon Anthony Albanese - Leader of the Opposition
Georgia Betros - winner of the 2021 scholarship
Liberty Sanger - Principal, Maurice Blackburn, major sponsors
The Hon Tanya Plibersek - Shadow Minister for Women