Is a quota system the best way to get more women in Parliament? 290



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Following the Labor party’s announcement that it would comprise 50 per cent female ministers by 2025, there has been heated debate amongst the Liberal party about whether it should bring in quotas to boost the number of women in its ranks.

Education Minister Christopher Pyne said on ABC’s 7.30, “The number of women representing the Liberal Party in the Senate, for example, has not increased, it’s declined, and we need to address that subject.

“We need to make it a lot easier for younger career-minded women to choose public life, to choose politics and to choose families at the same time… or we’ll not get the very important input that women provide to Cabinets, to Parliaments, to party rooms, which I think we have suffered in the last decade or so in not having enough women in our party room.”

However, Mr Pyne doesn’t think a quota system is the way to go. “I don’t like quotas because it’s instinctively anti-Liberal … it’s not necessarily merit-based,” he said.

“I can’t ever remember anyone saying, `we need a man of merit’,” quipped former Queensland senator Sue Boyce, who is of the opinion that nothing will be achieved without a target set in place.

Assistant Women’s Minister Michaelia Cash believes a quota won’t change the underlying issues and there needs to be a broader discussion about why women don’t want to go into politics. “Implementing a quota  potentially achieves a result, but possibly to the detriment of women,” she told Sky News. “I don’t think implementing a quota changes a culture.

Labor first began to set targets for women MPs more than 20 years ago when it agreed in 1994 to a quota of 30 per cent. That was later raised to 40 per cent, and now 50 per cent by 2025. Women now make up 43.3 per cent of Labor MPs in all lower houses in the country.

In February, Queensland became the first state to have more female cabinet minsters (eight) than male (six).

Acting Greens leader, Larrisa Waters says only 30 per cent of MPs in the house and senate are female, despite women comprising most of the population. “We know women can do the work, let’s make sure our systems and structures are set up to allow us to do the job,” she told ABC radio.The Greens party, which has gender equality as core founding principle, is made up of 63 per cent women.So what’s stopping women from diving into a political career? Political journalist and author of The Wife DroughtAnnabel Crabb says it’s to do with the fact that women, even high-earning, high-achieving woman, don’t have the kind of support male politicians enjoy on the home front.

 Liberal frontbencher Kelly O’Dwyer, who has recently given birth to her first baby, told Fairfax Media that the party did need to do more to encourage young women into politics and demonstrate that they could combine family with representative work.

Ms O’Dwyer said that while she did not support quotas to boost female representation, minimum targets were needed, and a cultural change required.

In a similar vein, Liberal MP Sharman Stone suggested getting rid of the “rubbish” that is Parliamentary question time would be a good start.

“At least four hours a day are spent on rubbish, just screaming matches between the boys,” Dr Stone told the ABC. “Do away with all of that. We need women in the place who will say: ‘Enough of time-wasting’. The public is over it. They look at Parliament, they see it as time-wasting, totally confrontational, men versus men screaming at each other to see who can get thrown out the quickest.”

Would you like to see more women in parliament? What do you think is holding them back?

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  1. We need the BEST PEOPLE for the job not the best man or woman. I dislike the idea of quotas if you are good enough you should get the job not because you make up the numbers. Quotas are actually demeaning to women

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  2. o At last count at local, state and federal level there were more females from coalition ranks then labor ranks, so entirely an ALP issue if forcing itself to use quotas to get more women elected.
    o Linda is spot on, its best person. o ..
    o Think about it, IF ALP had not of used quotas, Juliar would not of get elected, and would not of ended with the ALP male cohorts including current ALP OL – Bill Shorten stabbing her in the back

    2 REPLY
  3. I just listened to Christopher Pine. I agree with Linda that we need the best people for the job, but also once again discrimination. Mr Pyne stressed YOUNG women. Does that mean a woman over fifty wouldn’t be considered even if she was the best person for the job?

    4 REPLY
  4. I dislike quotas. However, as a mature aged woman working within the LNP voluntarily, then trying to get the numbers to win key committee or regional positions ( namely chairman – I was always offered secretary) I found that the men came out in droves to keep the non performing status quo young man in position! No one was interested in new ideas, ways to improve etc. it’s just a boys club, with a few good women striving to support. Mind set must change from some women themselves and most of the men within.

    2 REPLY
    • In the minds of two thirds that particular time, clearly not John Green. My energetic and well minded foray into politics was relatively short lived as I discovered at the age of fifty eight I wasn’t going to have the time to influence change from within, even with some good support. It’s a numbers game and (as they say) a very dirty one.

  5. The Liberal Party is the old boys club, the ALP has always been more progressive, I think it will many many years for The Liberal Party to get the same representation from women that the ALP has now. Labor is aiming 50%, that is great for Australian women and for the country

    3 REPLY
    • Unfortunately the Labour party also abuses their privileges. There should be an independent enquiry into who is spending public money. The country cannot afford these extravagances. There are far more important things to fund.

    • Mario Leanna never mentioned abuse of privledge but your right it is time this rorting was stopped and Bishop is a good place to start

    • We only have 2 main political parties Mario, ALP voters manage to spell Liberal correctly, what is so difficult for you to learn to spell Labor ?

  6. I’m not sure that I’d want to be in politics. In this day and age, they are scrutinised about every minute detail. Everything you wear, every slip of the tongue and off the cuff remark is analysed, all facial expressions have dozens of interpretations. Vitriol is in no short supply on social media and the tv and print media is relentless. Maybe the women staying out of politics are the smart ones.

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    • What a sensible comment , why give up living to be on TV everyday being pulled apart. They could all probably earn a lot more on the outside , AND have a home life too. Most people I know wouldn’t do it for quids .

    • Too true Sue. There is already too much politically correct discrimination in government. Go and sit a public service application exam. One of the questions on the first page where you put your name,gender, birth date, etc, is “are you a member of a special interest group”… is an amazing list

  7. The women in the ALP are the best people for the job, my local member is a female, she is great, she keeps us well informed about what is going on and actively seeks a better outcome for my electorate.Maybe. LNP women are not as smart 🙂

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    • no but if it spurs LNP women into getting out there and actively pursuing their democratic rights rights to be in our Parliament, then good for them, there is no reason why women cannot do as well as men and you as a Liberal Party voter should be insisting on it, But with all this rorting going on from Bronwyn Bishop, one of the very few female representatives in Parliament , you might have trouble convincing people

    • Highly unlikely posting something on an over 60s website is going to have much traction Libbi. Posting stuff on FB isn’t doing anything.

    • I would not say John Social media is the strongest media we have these days and if Liberal voters choose to stick their heads in the sand and not stand up for the women of the Liberal Party, many of who could be their daughters or granddaughters..then they deserve what they get, a man who is The Minister for Women and only 2 women in the Liberal Party cabinet

  8. I don’t believe in doing that just so there’s half women. I believe everyone should be chosen or elected on their merits not because of their sex. We want the best team to lead our country whether they be male or female.

  9. Perhaps Liberal women are not the best people for the job, on the Foxtel this morning they have found Bronwyn Bishop has claimed from taxpayers $288 to go to another wedding in 2007. If this is an example of Liberal Party women, perhaps the country would be better off without them.

    23 REPLY
    • On the subject of claims for attending weddings I myself would be discusseded if a person attending my wedding claimed it as an expense what do you think?

    • I think your right Robert, to me that would be an insult, but you trying claiming going to a wedding on your tax mate and watch how quickly they will reject it, if it is good enough for them, it should be good enough for everyone

    • How come there wasn’t this discussion when Gillard flew her mates to a staffer’s wedding on an RAAF jet?

    • Gillard was the Prime Minister of the country, Bishop on the other hand is the Prime Rorter, once is a mistake but when we keep finding out more and more , it is not a mistake anymore, it is a deliberate attempt to decieve

    • Bronwyn Bishop has always been a rude, arrogant woman. She is a biased speaker and a disgrace to the position way past her use by date. But then Abbott is a dinosaur looking back to the future so he will defend her

    • so what about the $3,500 in airfares Tanys Plibersuck claimed for taking 3 family members to Lord Howe Island – any thoughts on that one …..??????

    • none of them should be claiming Lester Guant, surely you would not be supporting Bishop rorting taxpayers? She is on probation for the helicopter ride and now more is coming out !! How much does she have to rort to be sacked? millions? The money is mounting up she may well get there and soon

    • So, are you saying that the MEN are not rorting the system? The name Warren Truss & a $21k fight comes to mind.

    • Ken Mc Lennan you should be careful of Libel laws, but this is not your real name .
      Gillard calls off party fundraiser – The West Australian – News…/gillard-calls-off-party-fundraiser/
      Jul 1, 2010 – Julia Gillard cancelled a dinner with mining executives in Brisbane last night after … “This flight would have cost taxpayers thousands of dollars.

    • I read recently where the treasurer Joe Hockey has a farm at Cairns & accept for one official engagement where he never visited his farm, he flew up there on a travel claim some 8-9 times.
      I think it’s pretty much official that they can be legally classified as frauds & embezzlers.

    • Ken McLennan it’s no use telling them what the labor party do they don’t care they just want to bash the present government, labor did a dam side worse and are still doing it including Shorten but they just don’t car. Now as for women in government , considering how the people are treating them at the moment who would want to be one of them at anytime. People grow up and stop this nonsense

    • Cheryl
      The difference is that you are making “claims” against the labor party that have already been investigated and PROVEN FALSE. The claims against the current libs are proving to be TRUE.

    • It is not only BB who abused her privileges. It is focused on her at the moment because they all fear the consequences of a review and cutbacks to the public trough where all their snouts are.

    • mike here-maybe the excreta has hit the oscillating air mover because finally the public has reached the end of their tether & because of the arrogance shown when these stories arise. If these incidences are within the guidelines then change the guidelines.

    • Julia Gillard was arguably one of the most corrupt politicians this country has had. Certainly the worst Prime Minister.

    • And there is no bigger liar in this country than Abbott, Julia Gillard is Saint compared to him John Green

    • It’s pretty bloody sad when someone on the pay rate that these pollies are on can’t afford a piddling little couple of hundred dollars for a private or public event. How about we all charge the pollies for travel when we go to the polls?

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