Women in Cabinet… For womens’ sake! 158



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Malcolm Turnbull, our new and suddenly enormously popular Prime Minister is expected to announce his Cabinet today and all anyone can talk about is “how many women will be on it?”.  Will he elevate women to the outer ministry of Parliament so they can be seen in the foreground of Liberal politics more?  Will he up the numbers of women on the leadership team from 2 to 4 as is rumoured?

But more than that today I want to ask “should he?”.  Do we want women there because they fulfil his “quota” or do we want women who have grown the right skills to do the right job for our country?

Tony Abbott was, quite frankly, sandbagged for failing women in politics.  For the first half of his term he had just one woman, Julie Bishop, on the Cabinet as Foreign Minister, later adding Sussan Ley in Health.  Both are expected to survive Turnbull’s reshuffle today, after all, there isn’t many women in the Liberal party to play with.

Fairfax Media is reporting that Human Services Minister Marise Payne and Assistant Immigration Minister Michaelia Cash will both be elevated from the outer ministry and into cabinet, doubling the number from two to four.

Others thought to be in the line for opportunity include Turnbull supporter Kelly O’Dwyer and the conservative Concetta Fierravanti-Wells. But there is some talk that they will go into the outer ministries, being elevated from Parliamentary secretary roles. Are you pleased to see the women getting some attention?

I’m not really a traditional feminist.  I can see that feminism in its truest forms played an enormous role in the evolution of society to what we see today, an environment where women can do anything.    I stand, in today’s world for women by merit, that is, a woman who works hard should be able to earn their place in business, opportunity or life.

But sometimes, we women have to stand together to draw attention to the merits we have, so opportunities shine through.

What do you think?  Should women in Cabinet be a quota or should they get there on merit alone?  Is it time we gave a few a big opportunity to show the country what they can do?

Rebecca Wilson

Rebecca Wilson is the founder and publisher of Starts at Sixty. The daughter of two baby boomers, she has built the online community for over 60s by listening carefully to the issues and seeking out answers, insights and information for over 60s throughout Australia. Rebecca is an experienced marketer, a trained journalist and has a degree in politics. A mother of 3, she passionately facilitates and leads our over 60s community, bringing the community opinions, needs and interests to the fore and making Starts at Sixty a fun place to be.

  1. The jobs should go to the most appropriate people, regardless of age or gender. Personally I find quotas for women a little offensive. I’d like to think I got the job because I was up to it, not to make up the numbers.

    11 REPLY
    • I agree totally. Am so sick of all this quota attitude. Appointments of any kind should by made according to the qualifications that the person has for the job, not because of gender.

    • The problem with Abbott’s cabinet was that he didn’t believe women were good enough or up to it. They were not even given the opportunity. And look what a disaster his male cabinet was…..

    • Women have been excluded for eons, from having any participation in running anything other than a chook raffle. Based on gender! Worldwide we have been excluded from education! Now the impact of that past equals that we have to demand a catch up. And that is Affirmative Action! Why are so many women co- opting an attitude that reinforces the notion that we are not worthy! Just stop it. Or do you hold with the notion that to teach a woman Biology will not improve her ability to cook a Steak or boil a Cabbage?

    • Ruth Hourigan I don’t believe that How many terms have these women been in Parliament and what things are they good at. I believe women should be given the oportunity if they are the best person for the job. A lot of woman walked with Abbott to the firing line so they must believe that they wern’t done by because they were women.

    • Absolutely this playing a gender card is totally not applicable. People should be chosen for their ability doesnt matter it it is the board room or political landscape.

    • No Anne , I was speaking generally to the issue of how we still witness that road block of women just not getting how much ground has to be made up due to our past exclusion. The perception is of course that every man who slipped into positions of power did so due to their experience! No, it was due to the boys club mentality. Just like today. Turnbull actually as a Minister for Communications employed his two mates from his Ozemail days. Now that is flat out Nepotism. Which he refuses to answer any questions on. Females populate the World while men chase Lions. Women decide to have babies without any experience, what could be harder than that? How often we have to listen to the victor and the vanquished males thank their little woman for making their life soooo easy! How often do we hear a woman able to say, “this is the road I choose, you will go too” .

  2. If he doubles the women there will be 4 women, depends if you are counting in Christope Pyne or not

    4 REPLY
  3. Yes I think there should be a target for women in the cabinet. Maybe no less than a third, but I don’t think that achievable yet. It should be the best person gets the job, so to achieve a target of one third more women need to get preselected to stand in winnable seats. Developmental roles need to go their way on committees and enquiries. Most of all they have got to be treated in the media as do the men which is basically on their abilities or lack of them.
    If Bronwyn Bishop were to be appointed to the Cabinet that could be a death blow to the Libs chances at the next election.

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