Virginia Haussegger resigns from ABC Canberra to head University of Canberra gender equity foundation
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Virginia Haussegger resigns from ABC Canberra to head University of Canberra gender equity foundation

Veteran television presenter Virginia Haussegger will leave the ABC to head up a new foundation dedicated to increasing the number of female policymakers.

The face of ABC TV News will present her last bulletin next month to take up a role at the University of Canberra's 50/50 by 2030 Foundation.

ABC TV News presenter Virginia Haussegger is a strong advocate for gender equity.

ABC TV News presenter Virginia Haussegger is a strong advocate for gender equity.

Haussegger, who will be the director of the new foundation, said their focus will be boosting the representation of women in government and public sector leadership in Australia.

The broadcaster, who in 2014 was made a Member of the Order of Australia for her advocacy for women's rights and gender equity, said she felt like she had been moving towards this role for years.

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ABC TV news presenter Virginia Haussegger has quit the ABC.

ABC TV news presenter Virginia Haussegger has quit the ABC.

"The fact we are so far into the 21st century and women are so poorly represented in positions of power and public power is just extraordinary," she said.

"It's not an issue of fairness, it's just good management, common sense and a much better outcome for policy makers, for government, for political parties if women are equally at the top table.

"To not have women sharing an equal place at the decision making table in politics and in senior public management positions, to not have women sharing an equal role in those leadership positions is denying our community, our nation, our society a true democracy."

Haussegger has worked in media for 30 years and has reported for current affairs programs on Channel 9 and the Seven Network, as well as the ABC.

ABC TV News presenter Virginia Haussegger will step down to head up a new foundation to improve the representation of women in the public service and in government.

ABC TV News presenter Virginia Haussegger will step down to head up a new foundation to improve the representation of women in the public service and in government.

She began her journalism career as an ABC cadet and said even then, people were talking about the under-representation of women in policy-making.

"Twenty years along we're still having similar discussions and the progress has been nowhere near what I and others had hoped it would have been by now so it is critical that we dedicated some genuine focus and research and time and effort on this very issue," he said.

"The fact that in 2013 a federal cabinet could be announced with only one woman in it and some 18 or 19 men is quite extraordinary. That's why we need to focus on this issue a lot more diligently."

As well as being an award-winning journalist, writer and commentator, she is also an adjunct professor at the university's Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis, where she runs master classes on strategic communications.

The foundation will be based within the institute and will focus on research, developing training modules and also offering gender audits on a consultancy basis.

Haussegger will start at the foundation in mid-November after her last bulletin on October 7. She said serving in the role of ABC News presenter had been a "real honour".

"While I'm chomping at the bit to get into my new role, and it feels like I've been moving towards this particular role for years, it was a hard decision to leave ABC TV News, mostly because I was there for the set-up and it's been a phenomenal 15 years, an extraordinary 15 years," she said.

"The change we've witnessed in our community and broadly in our nation over that time has been phenomenal and I've been at the forefront of it every night and it's been the greatest privilege of my life."

Katie Burgess is a reporter for the Canberra Times, covering ACT politics.