10 points for trying, but Coalition’s ‘women problem’ still very real

While new Liberal leader, Peter Dutton, should be given points for moving women into the shadow ministry, it is worth remembering that of the 58 House of Representative seats won by the Coalition, just 13 are held by women. 
There are now more women in the shadow ministry (17) than there are sitting on the Coalition benches in the lower house. Fortunately, Dutton has been able to draw on an experienced cohort of female Coalition Senators to bring gender balance on his front bench almost up to parr with that of the new ALP government.

However, with their House of Representatives gender balance sitting at 78% male and 22% female (less than half that of the ALP), the Coalition is not nearly out of the woods when it comes to addressing its oft quoted ‘women problem’.

Dutton has a long road ahead of him when it comes to winning back the trust of women, and it will need to start with a significant lift in the number of women the Coalition parties stand in safe, winnable seats.

It is not happenstance that the new Labor Government has 35 female MPs, giving it a raft of women from which to put a record 10 women in cabinet, 13 in the ministry and 19 on the front bench. 

It takes planning, persistence and commitment to getting women elected in safe seats, which the ALP commenced 28 years ago when it introduced its Affirmative Action rule in 1994. 

The Coalition has had endless opportunities to implement gender quotas for pre-selection but has not been bold enough to ever take this step. Will 2022 be any different or will the party still revert to the ‘myth of merit-based selection?’ Let’s hope it does not take 28 years for the Coalition to reach 45% women in Parliament.
House of Representatives Total seats won
May 2022
No. of seats won by females % females
ALP 77 35 45%
Liberal 27 9 33%
Liberal National Party 21 3 14%
The Nationals 10 1 10%
Greens 4 1 25%
Independent 10 9 90%
Katter’s Australia Party 1 0 0%
Centre Alliance 1 1 100%
Totals 151 59 39%

Read Claire’s previous comments on the Coalition and quotas

2021 - Women on Boards supports Liberal Party quotas 
2018 - Mandatory quotas needed for Liberal Party preselection 
2016 - Do we think men are really going to solve the Liberal problem? 
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