Women on Boards supports Liberal party quotas


Women on Boards has long been calling for quotas in government and supports Scott Morrison's call for quotas yesterday.  But the real question is how is he going to convince the Federal Liberal Party that quotas are the way to go? 


In 2018 following the Federal Liberal Party's failure to support Julie Bishop into the top job, WOB called on the Party to introduce a quota for female candidates at pre-selection and adopt a program of culture change and reform if it is to remain relevant to Australian voters. Read our article here.

As we noted then and on previous occasions: "A number of women in the Liberal Party have tried unsuccessfully to introduce a similar quota system to the Liberal Party.

Former Victorian Liberal Senator, Judith Troeth, argued in her paper, ‘Modernising the Parliamentary Liberal Party by Adopting the Organisational Wing’s Quota System for Pre-selections’ in 2011, that it was “illogical for the Liberal Party to reject quotas for preselecting election candidates when it has always accepted them for the organisational wing of the party.”

Well, that time has certainly come now. In fact it was probably evident at the 2019 election when just 24% of those elected to serve in the Morrison Government were female.  Read our article here .

In 2016 the Liberal Party launched an initiative to have 50 per cent female Liberal MPs by 2025 through "mentoring". We labelled it 'pie in the sky' then - and so it has appeared to be as, to our knowledge, there has been zero mentoring of women into MP roles - 'tho we are really are not sure who would do the mentoring given the current state of affairs in Australia's Parliament. Read our article here.

The real question for Morrison is how is he going to convince the Federal Liberal Party that quotas are the way to go? In the case of Labor it took years of work, negotiation and tough conversations by the likes of Joan Kirner and the other founders of Emily’s List. It does not happen by simple decree.

There are many in the Liberal Party ranks who would revile from the very idea of quotas for women - so the PM would seem to need a well thought, thorough, long-term and resourced strategy to shift culture (internally as well as in Parliament) and get the changes that many are going to demand. That is an outcome that is well beyond the next election cycle - should he survive that long.

Claire Braund
Executive Director

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