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
|No. of seats won by females
|Liberal National Party
|Katter’s Australia Party
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?