Recommendations for your pathway to politics: Charlotte Mortlock

Head and shoulder photo of Charlotte Mortlock. She has long dark blonde hair sunlit and is wearing a green shirt and gold hoop earrings.

Charlotte Mortlock, Founder of Hilma’s Network

In this blog series, we ask our alums to tell us about their personal ‘pathway to politics’ and provide their recommendations for content that will help support, guide, inspire and engage other women on their political journey.

I am a proud Liberal member, and I start with that because I think a lot of women in our Party are quite covert in their allegiance and I think that’s counterproductive to the change we are trying to create. That change being an increase in female representation in the Coalition, from grassroots to leadership.

I am a Liberal because I believe in freedom of speech, competition, small governments, free markets, less government intervention/interference and more responsibility on the individual and private sector. Of course, Liberal values only take you so far and at times you’ll have to go against them to create policy that is necessary. But overarchingly, that’s the general gist that appeals to me. I also find cancel culture (or pile on culture) incredibly vapid and archaic, which perhaps is perceived by some as Coalition-leaning!

While I am committed to the Liberal Party, it is secondary to my commitment to democracy and women, which is why I have created Hilma’s Network.

Even if you don’t vote Liberal, I think in a country with two major parties, everyone can agree that the best thing for democracy is to have both functioning optimally. And I think the lack of women in our ranks is a blight on that.

I established Hilma’s Network in September of 2022, in the midst of participating in Pathways to Politics at UNSW, in fact! The network was created as a grassroots recruitment drive to get more women joining as members of Coalition Parties. We have hosted sold out events in each state we have launched in and now are up and running in six states and territories. Recently, the network evolved into a not-for-profit which will raise money for female Coalition candidates.

I was a journalist for twelve years working in New York, Tamworth and Sydney. I did six years at Sky News where I was a political reporter and anchor. During COVID, the 11am daily press conferences got the better of me and I decided to hang up my microphone and become a media advisor for a politician. Once on the other side, my comprehension of politics grew exponentially and provided me with a lot of clarity of the current systemic flaws within the Liberal Party, which led me to launching Hilma’s. 

For a brief period I thought I wanted to be a politician but have since realised I really just love politics, and now have no intention of running myself. I think I am better suited to creating communities with deep and powerful connections that can effect change. The fact that I have no intention to run definitely makes it easier for me to push for change because I don’t need to worry about resistance to my cause, or ramifications on my own preselection. 

The thing that keeps me up at night is thinking that Australia’s political sphere would emulate the United States, where I believe polarisation has fundamentally fractured their society. The hatred for polarisation spurs my unwavering belief that we all need to learn how to disagree better, and to take some of the vitriol out of our arguments.

My recommendations

I recommend a few things, but none of them are quick fixes. I very strongly believe we all need to be proactively augmenting our knowledge, so they’re things to check in on weekly.

Honestly the podcast with Bari Weiss

“The most interesting conversations in American life happen behind closed doors. We’re prying them open.”

Subscribe to Honestly

Why We’re Polarized by Ezra Klein

American journalist Ezra Klein analyses political polarisation in the United States.

Find Why We’re Polarized online

Black book cover with white text for "Why We're Polarized"

A subscription to The Economist

“Give your brain a window seat”. The Economist is a British weekly newspaper focusing on current affairs, international business, politics, technology and culture.

Subscribe to The Economist

Cover of The Economist magaze showing Donalt Trump waving and the text "One year on"

A subscription to The Atlantic

“Since 1857, The Atlantic has been challenging assumptions and pursuing truth”. An American magazine featuring articles on politics, foreign affairs, business and the economy, culture and the arts, technology, and science. 

Subscribe to The Atlantic

Collage of six brightly coloured Atlantic magazine covers

A subscription to the Freddie de Boer sub stack

Yes, I know he’s a Marxist!

“Cool but rude”.

Subscribe to the sub stack

Logo for the Freddie de Boer substack - a textured blue square  with black letters reading FdB

Related Alums

Head and shoulder photo of Charlotte Mortlock. She has long dark blonde hair sunlit and is wearing a green shirt and gold hoop earrings.
2022 Alum (New South Wales)

Charlotte Mortlock

Charlotte Mortlock is the founder of Hilma’s Network, a community designed to connect and empower liberal-minded women, and raise money for female Coalition candidates. She is a former journalist and Sky News political reporter.

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