Meredith Doig has extensive experience on corporate boards, university councils and federal government advisory groups. All of which makes her a most unlikely candidate for the Sex Party in the coming federal election.
At first glance, Meredith Doig seems a most unlikely candidate for the Australian Sex Party.
She has extensive experience on corporate boards, sits on the council of Federation University Australia and is a director of the Federation Training TAFE.
But Dr Doig is also president of the Rationalist Society of Australia, which champions secular causes.
“I just hope that I can raise the profile of the Sex Party and make sure that people understand this is a progressive, sensible party despite the name,” she said.
Dr Doig has been preselected by the party for a Senate seat in the federal election, which is expected to be held next year.
But first she will run as a Melbourne-based candidate in the Polwarth byelection on the Surf Coast on October 31.
Dr Doig hopes that campaigning in Polwarth will help raise her profile among voters there.
“I’m reasonably familiar with the area. Having said that I wouldn’t lie to people and say I’m a local. I’m not a local,” she says.
The Liberals hold the seat by a 10.6 per cent margin, pushing an election victory for Ms Doig almost certainly beyond reach.
But with Labor deciding not to contest the byelection, Dr Doig says voters will now have a progressive choice with her representing the Australian Sex Party.
Dr Doig served as a board director with the Port of Melbourne Corporation and Bakers Delight.
She played a major role in the push to have special religious instruction scrapped during school hours. But now she has the time to run for Parliament.
If elected to federal Parliament Dr Doig says she will fight for a more “hopeful, open, progressive and dare I say secular country”.
Monash University politics professor Zareh Ghazarian says minor parties have been successful in getting elected at recent elections.
He says the Sex Party has a catchy name and stands a chance of winning a seat.
“Certainly they are in it,” he says.
But he added that the Sex Party will need to construct preference deals with the minor and major parties.
This will not be Dr Doig’s first attempt to join the political arena. She previously made an unsuccessful attempt at Labor preselection.
But she let her Labor membership lapse after Julia Gillard committed $222 million to provide religious chaplains in state schools. Dr Doig was also a member of the Australian Democrats.
But she was most impressed by the Sex Party in the lead up to the last federal election in 2013.
“Just look at their policies. It’s not just about sex. It’s actually about commitment to getting religious zealotry out of public policy,” she says.
Dr Doig also hails the Sex Party’s support for civil and human rights, assisted dying and abortion services.
She has taken heart from the Sex Party’s Victorian upper house MP Fiona Patten, who successfully led a push to establish buffer zones around abortion clinics to prevent protesters from harassing patients.
Dr Doig says she hopes she can deliver similar wins for her progressive agenda in the federal senate.
“Let’s see if we can work together to take Australia forward,” she said.