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Dangerous impulses around women in power

  • 03 September 2014

The woman featured in this interview on Eureka Street TV  hardly needs an introduction. Geraldine Doogue is one of Australia’s most respected and well known journalists. Over a career spanning four decades she’s had a strong presence in all traditional media, in print, radio and TV, with leading roles in both public and commercial media outlets.

She has just published a book entitled The Climb: Conversations with Australian Women in Power and this interview focuses on her exploration in the book of contemporary women’s leadership in this country.

At the outset I should acknowledge a personal connection with Geraldine. She and I have worked closely on a number of big projects on and off since 1986, and over that period she has become a highly valued friend, collaborator and mentor. 

One of those projects which I’d rank as a highlight of my career was the TV documentary, Tomorrow’s Islamwhich aired on ABC TV’s Compass strand in 2003. It presented the views of key progressive Muslim thinkers and leaders around the world about the problems besetting that great world faith.

Geraldine and I then collaborated on a book based on the extensive research and interviews done for the documentary and this was published by ABC Books in 2005. This was the first experience for both of us in the daunting but rewarding process of long-form writing and publishing.

Geraldine was born and grew up in Perth, Western Australia. After a devout Catholic upbringing, convent education, and gaining an Arts degree her first plan was to train as a teacher.

But in the early 1970s, on an impulse she applied for a cadetship in journalism with the West Australian newspaper. This was the start of a distinguished career as a journalist and broadcaster that included stints at the Australian newspaper, Radio 2UE, Channel 10 and ABC TV and Radio. She currently hosts Radio National’s Saturday Extra and ABC TV’s Compass.

She has won two Penguin Awards for excellence in broadcasting from the Television Society of Australia and a United Nations Media Peace Prize. In 2000 she was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to study social and cultural reporting overseas. In 2003 she was made an Office of the Order of Australia for service to the community and media.

In the first part of this interview she reflects on the leadership of Julia Gillard and how she was treated as our first female prime minister, she gives an overview of her book, and explains the role of the nuns who taught