NSW has a female Premier, but pipeline needs priming


NSW may have elected a female Liberal leader for the first time, but the overall numbers are looking a bit grim for the Coalition Government in the Legislative Assembly when it comes to gender. If Wendy Lindsay is elected in East Hills and The Nationals retain Dubbo, then there will be 13 women sitting in the Lower House from 48 government representatives.


At 27 per cent, this is a long way from the 40 per cent that WOB now expects the ASX and other sectors in the economy to achieve when it comes to numbers of women in board and leadership roles.

As I have written before in this column, the key to success is not bemoaning the fact that women don’t stand for preselection or, if they do, that they don’t sell themselves well, but in ‘priming the pipeline.

Of the 17 parties who stood in the Lower House election, only three exceeded 40 percent female candidates:

  1. Animal Justice Party (29 of 48)
  2. Labor (31 of 65)
  3. The Greens (39 of 93)

Country Labor was next with 11 of its 28 candidates being female, while Sustainable Australia fielded 19 women from a large field of 55.

With just 20 female candidates in their combined field of 93 candidates, the Liberal and National Parties were clearly never going to get close to 40 per cent women in Government. This is despite the fact the female candidates batted well above average, with 13 elected – if Wendy takes East Hills.

Combining Labor and Country Labour under one banner, the party had 17 women elected from the overall 36 seats won – 47 per cent female representation.  Clearly the key to getting female representatives into Parliament is to pre-select them as candidates in the first place.

Other Interesting Facts

  • Men were more than three times more likely then women to stand as Independents than women (39 M versus 11 F), for Keep Sydney Open (33 M versus 9 F) and the Australian Conservatives (15 M versus 4 F)
  • The Liberal Democrats had the lowest percentage of female candidates (0%)
  • The Shooters, Fishers & Farmers stood four female candidate (and had one elected) and 21 male candidates (and had two elected)
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