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Audio Clare Martin speaks on being a female politician, 2008

TLF ID R9906

This is an edited sound recording of Clare Martin, former chief minister of Australia's Northern Territory (NT), talking about being a female politician. Martin discusses some of the difficulties faced by women politicians, particularly those with children. She says that balancing their professional role with their role as a mother is an ongoing challenge for female politicians, and that they may need to give more consideration than males to the possible strains on their families of intense media scrutiny. The recording was made in July 2008.

Educational details

Educational value
  • Known as a strong supporter of women standing for election to Australian parliaments, in this interview Clare Martin (1952-) appears to be alerting potential candidates to some of the possible negative consequences of a life in politics. She specifically mentions female members with children as facing considerable difficulties.
  • Martin had extensive experience as a female politician. When this recording was made, she had been an Australian Labor Party (ALP) member of the NT Legislative Assembly for 13 years. Martin led the ALP opposition to a surprise victory in the 2001 election, becoming both the first ALP and the first female NT chief minister. She led the ALP to victory again in 2005, but resigned in November 2007, remaining a backbencher until the election of August 2008.
  • Martin speaks from experience when she states that, like women in other fields, female politicians with children have to be 'very careful' in balancing their role as mothers with their careers. When she was first elected in 1995, Martin and her partner David Alderman had two children at primary school, Jake and Chloe. By the time she retired from politics in 2008, they had finished secondary school.
  • This recording gives an insight into the pressure of being under constant media scrutiny. Martin states that intense scrutiny seems to be an increasing trend, and suggests would-be female politicians consider whether they are prepared to subject themselves and their families to it. As a politician in the NT, Martin would probably have been under less scrutiny than her counterparts in other major Australian cities, but was evidently still affected.
  • Before going into politics in the NT, Martin was a journalist with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in Sydney, Canberra and Darwin. Her work as a journalist had often involved putting politicians under scrutiny herself as the interviewer, before she experienced it herself from the 'other side' as the interviewee.

Other details

  • Contributor
  • Name: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Organization: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Description: Content provider
  • Address: VIC, AUSTRALIA
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  • Name: Education Services Australia
  • Organization: Education Services Australia
  • Description: Data manager
  • Person: Clare Martin
  • Description: Author
  • Copyright Holder
  • Name: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Organization: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Address: VIC, AUSTRALIA
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  • Publisher
  • Name: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Organization: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Description: Publisher
  • Address: VIC, AUSTRALIA
  • URL:
  • Resource metadata contributed by
  • Name: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Address: AUSTRALIA
  • URL:
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Learning Resource Type
  • Audio
  • © Education Services Australia Ltd, 2013, except where indicated under Acknowledgements.