End Washington Corruption

Washington works great for the wealthy and the well-connected, but it isn’t working for anyone else. Companies and wealthy individuals spend billions every year to influence Congress and federal agencies to put their interests ahead of the public interest. This is deliberate, and we need to call this what it is—corruption, plain and simple. That’s why Elizabeth has proposed the most ambitious set of anti-corruption reforms since Watergate to fundamentally change the way Washington does business.

We will start by ending lobbying as we know it by closing loopholes so everyone who lobbies must register, shining sunlight on their activities, banning foreign governments from hiring Washington lobbyists, and shutting down the ability of lobbyists to move freely in and out of government jobs.

Women work in more collaborative ways

The more women in government, the healthier a population

File 20190109 32127 cbiu5z.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1
Canada’s Minister of the Status of Women Maryam Monsef is pictured in the Library of Parliament on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa on Feb. 28, 2018.
(THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick)

Edwin Ng, University of Waterloo and Carles Muntaner, University of Toronto

In November 2015, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau formed the first gender-balanced cabinet in Canadian history. In announcing his cabinet, he ensured that half of his closest advisers (15 out of a total of 30) were women.

Canada’s gender-equal cabinet vaulted the country from 20th to fifth place in the world in terms of percentage of women in ministerial positions.

When reporters asked Trudeau about why gender parity was important to him, he retorted: “Because it’s 2015.” His simple yet momentous response resonated with those committed to equity, diversity and inclusion.

As public health researchers, this got us thinking — if increasing the number of women in positions of power promotes gender equity, could it also promote population health and well-being?

Our findings, published recently in the journal SSM – Population Health, support the argument that yes, women in government do in fact advance population health.

More women in power, fewer deaths

We first dug into the research literature to see how male and female politicians might differ from each other. Compared to their male counterparts, female politicians are more likely to hold left-wing attitudes (with regard to issues such as civil rights, social equality and egalitarianism) and substantively advance women’s rights in areas such as pay equity, violence against women, health care and family policy.

Deb Haaland is one of two Native American women who marked historic congressional victories in November 2018 as a record number of women were elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.
(AP Photo/Juan Labreche)

Also, research has shown that women in government tend to work in more collaborative and bipartisan ways and employ a more democratic leadership style compared to men’s more autocratic style. Women are also more effective at building coalitions and reaching consensus.

Next, we examined whether there’s a historical association between women in government and population health among Canada’s 10 provinces. Between 1976 and 2009, the percentage of women in provincial government increased six-fold from 4.2 per cent to 25.9 per cent, while mortality from all causes declined by 37.5 per cent (from 8.85 to 5.53 deaths per 1000 people).

Using data from provincial election offices and Statistics Canada, we found that as the average percentage of women in government has historically risen, total mortality rates have declined.

Women spend more on health and education

This link does not of course mean that the increase of women in government has directly caused the decline in mortality.

To assess this, we regressed mortality rates on women in government while controlling for several potential confounders. Our findings support the hypothesis that women in government do in fact advance population health.

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern addresses Parliament in Wellington, N.Z., in May 2018 while pregnant with her first child. Many hope the 37-year-old will become a role model for combining motherhood with political leadership.
(AP Photo/Nick Perry, File)

Interestingly, women in government in Canada have had a bigger effect on male mortality rates than on female rates (1.00 vs 0.44 deaths per 1,000 people).

We also found a pathway that connects women in government, population health and the potential role of partisan politics. In an earlier study, we found that four types of provincial government spending are predictive of lower mortality rates: medical care, preventive care, other social services and post-secondary education.

When we tested government spending as a mediating factor, we found that women in government in Canada have reduced mortality rates by triggering these specific types of health-promoting expenditures.

Women work in more collaborative ways

We also found that there was no relationship between the political leanings of women in government — whether they belonged to left-wing, centrist or right-wing parties — and mortality rates.

Ideological differences among social democratic (e.g., NDP), centrist (e.g., Liberal), and fiscal conservative (e.g., Conservative) political parties seem to be less important to mortality rates than increasing the actual number of women elected to government.

Scotland’s Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon, left, walks with European Union Chief negotiator for Brexit Michel Barnier, prior to a meeting at EU headquarters in Brussels on Monday, May 28, 2018.
(AP Photo/Emmanuel Dunand, Pool Photo via AP)

This finding supports the idea that women in government tend to work in more collaborative and bipartisan ways than their male counterparts.

It’s now 2019 and leading public health scholars still tend to downplay the potential effects of political determinants such as gender politics on population health. Instead, they opt to focus almost exclusively on individual and social determinants of health.

We believe gender politics matters in public health because it helps to determine “who gets what, when and how.”

We believe that electing more women in government not only promotes gender equality and strengthens democratic institutions but also makes real and substantive contributions to government spending and population health.

Given that women in government can bring about desirable changes in population health, let’s figure out how we can genuinely level the political playing field for women.The Conversation

Edwin Ng, Assistant Professor, School of Social Work, University of Waterloo and Carles Muntaner, Professor, Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Money buys me love. A brief detente in the war between the Morrison government and the energy sector came just in time for the Liberal Party’s $3500 a-head fundraiser on Tuesday night.

On the menu behind closed doors at Hyatt Canberra’s Centenary room: some good old money-canbuy plain speaking with Energy Minister Angus Taylor.

Present for that warm embrace was a low-level but loyal crowd of just over a dozen people, including dinner hosts Caltex, that brought four of their heavy hitters.

They were led by the company’s new chief lobbyist Todd Loydell, its government affairs adviser Philip Skinner and corporate affairs boss Elizabeth Rex.

Also along: Woodside Energy’s new lobbyist, recent Canberra arrival Graham Dodds and Australian Pipelines and Gas Association chief executive Steve Davies.

A few thoughts gleaned from Taylor – not the life of a party but a really decent bloke, according to an overheard conversation between former prime minister Tony Abbott and The Australian’s national affairs editor Simon Benson.

There was agreement NSW Labor leader Michael Daley is cutting through with his campaign pitting schools and hospitals against Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s stadium plan, an admission bound to go down about as well as a busted preselection race in Treasurer Dominic Perrottet’s books.

However, Taylor thinks Berejiklian will win the March election, in part due to a massive infrastructure program in Sydney’s west and the new Western Sydney Airport.

Second, a glimmer of hope for the Coalition after Labor passed the medevac legislation – simultaneously trashing 109 years of precedent according to Christopher Pyne and no big deal according to Prime Minister Scott Morrison – hours before the dinner.

And some food for thought on energy: targets and commercial decisions will take care of emission reductions, ruling out any need for a government-mandated mechanism.

Despite warnings the government’s legislative defeat that evening was the worst crisis since the New Model Army of 1648, no end of Coalition and Labor MPs hit the town on Tuesday.

Collingwood president Eddie McGuire headlined the commercial radio lobby’s Parliament knees-up, even hosting rival Jeff Kennett, Hawthorn president, who had his own event down the hall.

We counted Communications Minister Mitch Fifield and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg in the crowd along with radio legend Derryn Hinch.

Liberal MPs Jason Falinski and Tim Wilson kept company with some News Corp scribes at China Plate in Kingston, Labor MPs Terri Butler and Andrew Giles were spotted at QT Hotel’s Capitol Grill, as were their colleagues Kristina Keneally and (separately) Ed Husic.

Meanwhile, ex-Transport Workers Union boss and Labor Senate certainty Tony Sheldon had a beer (or more) with West Australian senator Glenn Sterle at the Kingston Hotel.

Seen yesterday, Liberal hopeful (former Liberal Democrat, former Labor president) Warren Mundine with John Hewson (and later Labor MP Michael Danby) at Capital Hill canteen Aussies, and Pfizer Australia managing director Melissa McGregor and Telstra lobbyist Ramah Sakul at the National Press Club to hear Labor’s health spokeswoman Catherine King.

And after the painful extraction of National Australia Bank chairman Ken Henry, the bank’s new government relations boss Philippa King – previously Malcolm Turnbull’s foreign adviser – made her first trip to Canberra in her new job.

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