Friday Flash Poll: Should we have more women in Parliament?

Have your say on the state of equality and trust in Australian politics.

Friday Flash Poll: Should we have more women in Parliament?

When Enid Lyons and Dorothy Tangney first entered federal Parliament almost 75 years ago, they probably thought there’d be more women in government by now.

Australian women officially acquired the right to stand for federal Parliament. Forty years later, the first female was elected.

In 1943, history was made when the United Australia Party’s Enid Lyons – widow of former PM Joseph Lyons (1932-39) – won the seat of Darwin and the Labor Party’s Dorothy Tangney was elected to the Senate.

There are more women in government today, but reports of bullying and mistreatment of female MPs over the past few weeks are being seen as a disincentive to females entering politics.

Lucy Gichuhi, Ann Sudmalis and Julia Banks, have recently made public allegations of bullying.

Earlier this month, Senator Gichuhi threatened to use parliamentary privilege to name those inside the Liberal Party she said had bullied and intimidated her.

Last week, Ms Sudmalis did just that. She and Ms Banks have flagged their intention not to contest their seats at the next election largely because of the alleged bullying.

The senator’s comments prompted Cabinet Minister Kelly O'Dwyer to add further weight to the claims, telling 7.30 she had spoken to both male and female MPs in the wake of the leadership spill and "it is clear to me that people were subject to threats and intimidation and bullying".

There have been calls for more women in Parliament and arguments against.

Labor has a quota to preselect women in 50 per cent of winnable seats by 2025. The Libs have a ‘target’, which is more aspirational as opposed to a firm policy such as Labor’s.

Currently, half of all federal ALP MPs are women, but only 22 of the Liberal Party's 107 federal parliamentarians are women.

The federal Liberal Party says it is currently debating how to boost the number of women in Parliament.

But it may be stumbling over its own conservatism. After all, the philosophy of conservatism centres around a ‘commitment to traditional values and ideas with opposition to change or innovation’.

If quotas are adopted, women who get into Parliament may be labelled as ‘quota girls’, similarly to how affirmative action employees were tainted as token.

This is unfortunate as, given the same opportunities all along, both these women and those workers in the 80s may have risen up through the same ranks, possibly further and faster.

That’s where the argument for a meritocracy falls short. Women and indigenous candidates simply have not had the same opportunities to prove their ‘merit’. Maybe quotas will give them a foot in the door, but once in, they should all be judged based on key performance indicators. That is, run with a policy, do your darndest to implement said policy and stay true to your word.

Both men and women have the capacity to do that, but does a politician? Will the country benefit from having more women in Parliament? What would restore your faith in Australian politics?

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    COMMENTS

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    darcy
    21st Sep 2018
    10:24am
    Why have those women suddenly decided to complain now. They've all been around the traps for ages, yet suddenly they're being ''bullied''! Especially Julie Bishop, who has been in Parliament for a long time. As a woman of great influence , why has she never broached the subject until now. If that is the level of maturity and intelligence that lot of women bring to politics, thank heavens we don't have any more.
    From a woman.
    MICK
    21st Sep 2018
    1:40pm
    Correct. But bear in mind men have been under attack from women's movements for a couple of decades. The story line never much changes: we are victims, we are being discriminated against, we need equal rights (meaning discriminating against men) and we need to be put into the top jobs because we are women, not because we are suitable or have worked towards the job.
    About time men fought back because the female dominated media is running a campaign.
    Adrianus
    21st Sep 2018
    3:09pm
    MICK, this is one of the very few times I find myself agreeing with you on the issue of fighting back. Yes we should all push back at this but not against women. We should push back against the real crusader, Communism. MICK, being a strong advocate for the hard left, it surprises me a little that you don't support this thing called "equality?"
    Anonymous
    21st Sep 2018
    5:23pm
    MICK. Women moan about the "Glass Ceiling", but they're silent when it comes to the "Glass Cellar" occupied overwhelmingly by men.
    TREBOR
    21st Sep 2018
    5:25pm
    I find Mick very similar to myself - somewhere in the middle... but capable of seeing BS when it is presented by politicians and special interest groups bent on creating society anew to suit themselves... and those groups can be either 'left' or 'right'...
    MICK
    24th Sep 2018
    9:25am
    Wow, this is a first.
    Adrianus - I would never support 'Communism'. What I support is a fair carve up of the national wealth. Creating multi billionaires whilst average citizens struggle to survive is what I rail against as the national wealth of a country may be taken by the 0.1% but it belongs to the inhabitants of the country. Call that communism if you like but I call it social responsibility and decent humanity.
    Cheers
    maxchugg
    25th Sep 2018
    11:02am
    Even I agree with Mick!

    I am all in favour of equal treatment for everyone in every respect. I do not believe that special privileges should be allocated to anyone on the basis of race, religion or gender, so a few things need to change:

    1. Last year 3128 women died from breast cancer and 3500 men died from prostate cancer, so there should be equal funding for research, prevention and cure of both diseases.

    2.There is a federal office for the status of women with its own minister so there should also be an office for the status of men, also with its own minister and equally funded.

    3. Wikipedia lists 33 organizations which are for women only, none for men. Wikipedia has overlooked the few men's sheds which exist, possibly because women are currently mounting legal challenges to be allowed entry into these places as they did to the Working Men's Clubs a few years ago. Gender specific clubs should be either legal for both sexes or illegal for both.

    It is beyond dispute that politicians should be chosen on the basis of merit which has been amply demonstrated by most females in parliament who have achieved very little. And I am aware that the same could be said for some of the men, but they can be voted out at next election and screams of misogyny won't help them.

    In Victoria there is a female who obviously suffers from a jealousy syndrome which I won't mention other than to say that by her hair style and manner of dress she does her utmost to look like a man. A prime mover behind the evil Victorian safe schools program which she has admitted has nothing to do with safe schools, she has openly bragged that she is not interested in the rights of parents, their children will be subjected to her wishes with no right of appeal. A quota system would massively improve the chances of such a person entering parliament, her track record indicates the likely outcome of such a disaster.
    Seadove
    21st Sep 2018
    10:49am
    Wrong question. It should be, should the LNP have more women in their ranks and the answer is yes. Labor is already near 50% so question not applicable to them.
    TREBOR
    21st Sep 2018
    12:04pm
    Quotas are policies of exclusion.... not inclusion. It cuts both ways.
    Adrianus
    21st Sep 2018
    10:27pm
    Seadove, why is Labor then limiting the number of women in their ranks? Is their glass ceiling now heavy gauged iron? That is what you're suggesting isn't it?
    Charlie
    21st Sep 2018
    10:51am
    Only if everyone benefits from it..Not because it is trendy. or somebody thinks the best balance in parliament is 50/50 males/females.
    We use the 50/50 balance in parliament to judge who wins and who loses. Lets not start applying that to the male/female ratio, there is enough trivial conflict in parliament already.
    Cassius
    21st Sep 2018
    10:55am
    They should get into parliament on merit not because they are a man, woman or whatever.
    Quotas not acceptable
    TREBOR
    21st Sep 2018
    12:05pm
    .. not the best woman for the job regardless of gender....... or the best man for the job regardless of gender..... we want the best person for the job....
    Old Geezer
    21st Sep 2018
    2:23pm
    I agree we want people who do the best for our country no matter what is their gender.

    if we have quotas for men and women then we also need a quota for others.
    TREBOR
    21st Sep 2018
    5:26pm
    Yes - and then it becomes totally absurd (and not just absurd) - since 5.4% claim no ethnicity in Oz... hmmm....
    Blinky Bill
    21st Sep 2018
    10:55am
    I don't particularly have a preference for men or women in any political party. But what I do have a preference for is, a person of conscience, morals and ethics. A person with a vision for the future of Australia that reflects the desire of the majority of the people.
    B5YCK
    21st Sep 2018
    12:04pm
    Very well said. If only the majority of voting people could be persuaded to follow that mantra.
    udo1103
    21st Sep 2018
    12:58pm
    very well written, BLINKY BILL and B5YCK...
    Gypsy
    21st Sep 2018
    2:35pm
    Totally correct and well put.
    Maybe we could put you up for election Blinky Bill :) We'll start the YLC Party. Not left, not right. Just do the right thing for our people & our country.
    Adrianus
    21st Sep 2018
    3:21pm
    So with that in mind Blinky, what do you think about "identity politics?"
    Maggie
    21st Sep 2018
    10:59am
    Unless positions in the govt of the day are based on merit we will all be the losers. Where a man and a woman are found equally worthy, for want of a better word, then let the woman go forward.'
    TREBOR
    21st Sep 2018
    12:07pm
    Easy to say, maggie - past experience with the blighted 'equal employment opportunity' showed that lasts as long as the first appointment - then active discrimination comes in immediately and remains forever.

    If all things are equal - toss a coin.
    Anonymous
    21st Sep 2018
    5:26pm
    "Where a man and a woman are found equally worthy, for want of a better word, then let the woman go forward.' "

    Why? This sounds Orwellian ("Animal Farm"). I bet you wouldn't say that if the job weren't cushy.
    jackie
    21st Sep 2018
    11:04am
    Australians want politicians that listen and can relate to what Australians need. Australians don't want politicians that are puppets for corporations and the rich. Those politicians whether they be women or men are useless and a waste of tax payer money as well as the people that vote them in.
    Maggie
    21st Sep 2018
    11:10am
    You are so right. What we need is a definition of merit. What are the criteria involved in judging who is better for the job? I would suggest that good listening skills, empathy, leadership and a proven ability to get things done, could be some of them.

    Also included would be objectivity, good manners and an abhorrence of dirty play.
    TREBOR
    21st Sep 2018
    12:08pm
    They are all puppets for their party regardless..... nothing changes at all.
    Nerk
    21st Sep 2018
    11:25am
    Let the best man or woman get the job.
    Old Geezer
    21st Sep 2018
    2:24pm
    Or other.
    Felicity
    21st Sep 2018
    11:41am
    Why didn't Julie Bishop speak up when Julia Gillard broached the subject?
    udo1103
    21st Sep 2018
    1:01pm
    J. B. almost never spoke up whilst she's 'living from politics'...
    TREBOR
    21st Sep 2018
    12:03pm
    I've lost faith in politicians, and more women in politics.. or more werehounds or Bandelthumpians or Aborigines or ethnics or Muslims or Christians or whatever..... will not alter my views.

    The recent nonsense about women 'ceos' in banks etc has shown no difference between men and women when it comes to ethics and values, women are just as bad at using their parliamentary 'entitlements' to the max for everything unwarranted on any excuse, and the current growing nonsense about 'women's super' and 'wage gaps' which all holds no water at all - is enough.

    Why in hell would anyone imagine that I would think more women would make politics a better place?
    Styx
    21st Sep 2018
    12:16pm
    Wrong question! We need the best people for the country whether they be men or women. We shouldn't discriminate on the basis of sex.
    musicveg
    21st Sep 2018
    6:51pm
    Makes sense when there are men turning to women and vice versa these days. And some do not even have a gender, so in the future it will be even more of a problem.
    musicveg
    21st Sep 2018
    6:52pm
    Should be 'turning into" not turning to. Wish there was an edit button on the comments.
    Olbiddy
    21st Sep 2018
    12:40pm
    I think Graham Richardson had a good point this morning when he mentioned that none of these women who are now complaining had anything to say when they relied on the party heavies to get them preselected. Toughen up, girls!
    Adrianus
    21st Sep 2018
    12:40pm
    Labor and the Greens have exposed their lack of morality in embracing this ridiculous notion and methods of achieving so called equality. If women are perceived as being excluded, then remove the exclusions. Simple.
    Why add more exclusions by introducing a quota system??
    Kerryn Phelps recently commented that she wouldn't run for Wentworth if the LNP nominated a woman? Why? Has Australia gone mad??
    Old Geezer
    21st Sep 2018
    2:26pm
    What is Kerryn Phelps gender?
    Adrianus
    21st Sep 2018
    3:13pm
    She is a woman of course, but these days it doesn't matter. OG you could be a woman tomorrow, like Dorothy all you have to do is click your heels together.
    Old Geezer
    21st Sep 2018
    3:20pm
    Are you sure?
    Adrianus
    21st Sep 2018
    3:26pm
    When Labor boasts about the number of women Politicians in their ranks, I'm sure they include Penny Wong. That makes sense to me. There are only two sexes in parliament but outside the chambers, well that's a different story.
    Adrianus
    21st Sep 2018
    3:30pm
    My point is, that here we see a woman willing to not have a go at Wentworth if it means running against another woman? This is a long bow to draw but do many women think this way? I mean that they love competing against men but not women? What the go here?
    Theo1943
    21st Sep 2018
    5:03pm
    Wow Adrianus, does Penny offend your manliness or what? It is not my business what she does in her private life as long as she is ethical in her dealings with people. Is it your business?
    Adrianus
    21st Sep 2018
    10:23pm
    Theo1943, I couldn't care less what Penny Wong does or who she offends. I think you should reread my post. I was eluding to the stupidity and hypocrisy of Labor and their identity politics.
    NotAgain
    21st Sep 2018
    12:55pm
    Women wanted equality, so stop ranting and raving about bullying. As the saying goes, If you can't stand the heat get out of the kitchen. Your all just a load of pathetic women. As for Julie Bishop, I think that she is a frustrated wanna be, fashion wise.
    KB
    21st Sep 2018
    1:20pm
    Either gender needs to voted in on ,merit. Male or female politicians should have moral ethics and should be inclusive of all people no matter gender or background. Yes they must have a vison for the future which is inclusive to all live here in Australia
    Polly
    21st Sep 2018
    1:37pm
    All politicians should be endorsed &
    subsequently elected on merit, experience & qualifications
    MarkAdel
    21st Sep 2018
    2:07pm
    I’d like to see more women in politics. I don’t believe in quotas though. It should be the best person for the job, be it 100% women or 100% men. The perfect scenario is 50/50 of course. It’s time for women to step up and get more involved in politics.
    moama jock
    21st Sep 2018
    2:16pm
    Please select on ability not gender eg Bishop and Wong ineffectual then again so is Shorten , Gillard a disaster Plibersek not my cup of tea but positive.All in all collectively a motley mob with Labor just leading in the dishonesty ranking.Only slightly better than many African nations
    Old Geezer
    21st Sep 2018
    2:20pm
    Interesting that Liberal has the highest number of voters.
    Adrianus
    21st Sep 2018
    3:19pm
    I found that interesting too OG? However, unlike the very young us oldies have the experience to make sound decisions based on the facts as they are presented. And therefor those figures can swing. I voted other because I make up my mind toward the end of campaigning.
    Gypsy
    21st Sep 2018
    5:45pm
    I thought that. From the comments on nearly any subject that comes on YLC, I thought the majority of ppl were Labor, not Liberal.
    musicveg
    21st Sep 2018
    6:53pm
    Only against Labor, you are not taking into consideration all the other votes to others.
    micreen
    21st Sep 2018
    2:23pm
    I do not believe that women in politics make any real difference, they have one vote when it is time to vote so they do not appear to belong to a species who have intelligence levels than men, they may be able to see things differently. but that is all.
    I could be wrong ?
    Eddy
    21st Sep 2018
    4:08pm
    My personal observation is that the biggest hurdle for women in politics is women themselves. I have participated in conversations about politics and have heard women assessing female politicians in terms of their choice of clothing, hairstyles and/or body shape, even whether their shoes 'match' their outfit. The media is not much better. Only when the general conversation about politics centres on policy and direction will we truly have gender-neutral politics.
    musicveg
    21st Sep 2018
    6:55pm
    You are right Eddy, maybe they should all wear suits with ties.
    Barbara Mathieson
    21st Sep 2018
    4:31pm
    Merit - noun, quality of being particularly good or worthy.

    Surely , people must get into Parliament on Merit ?!
    They must be able to manage the ‘ hurly , burly, jabs, snide remarks, negativity that we unfortunately see in the Chamber from people without “ merit”!
    Meritorious people usually have positive attributes, like integrity, empathy, respect, emotional intelligence for starters.
    Would probably even have a decent CV!

    I remain “ Ever Hopefull” for - any Meritorious participants regardless of their gender.
    HDRider
    21st Sep 2018
    4:42pm
    In the poll people say there should be more women in politics yet they also say it would not restore the faith or trust them more! What a sad day people do you really know what the hell you want?
    Theo1943
    21st Sep 2018
    4:59pm
    We need more rich white men who will work diligently and tirelessly for their corporate sponsors.
    Adrianus
    21st Sep 2018
    10:31pm
    You're not a racist bigot are you Theo1943? No, that's what other people are who disagree with you.

    21st Sep 2018
    5:21pm
    I'll agree to quotas for women in politics when there are quotas for women miners and sewage-workers.
    VicCherikoff
    21st Sep 2018
    6:09pm
    I agree with Billy Connolly who said that wanting to be a politician should ban you for life.
    MD
    21st Sep 2018
    7:52pm
    What the - has a "quota" got to do with democracy, candidates (M or F regardless) are pre-selected by the party and then it's up to the electorate to decide who they determine MIGHT best represent the electorate. Democracy - or pseudo same, is now so politically over corrected that the franchised are herded like dumb sheep to baa to current hype and blindly (or maybe blondly) accept the current trend of equal opportunity.

    All things being equal, then it's only a matter of time before the new line up will effectively reduce the current bullpit of bull roaring and bullying to an all new level of mediocre bullshit.

    Time to 'send in the clowns', at least they may humour an otherwise Serena Williams moment in the circumstance of our federated theatrical sham.
    Andy
    21st Sep 2018
    8:00pm
    we need gutsy politicians that will fight for the people does not matter if they women or men kick the rest out
    bobbalinda
    21st Sep 2018
    11:09pm
    If a woman is good enough then yes elect her but don't just elect a woman to equal the numbers. Even men can get "bullied" just have the guts to stand up for yourself and don't take it. As they say if you can't stand the heat ……...
    ex PS
    25th Sep 2018
    3:57pm
    Would that be, if you can't stand the heat a smart person turns it down.
    bobbalinda
    21st Sep 2018
    11:10pm
    If a woman is good and strong enough then yes elect her but don't just make it so there are equal numbers of the sexes. Even men are 'bullied' just have the guts to stand up for yourself.

    21st Sep 2018
    11:38pm
    What is needed is a diversity of opinion in Parliament. That has very little to do with gender, cultural origin and so on.
    What is lacking is internal democracy in the Libs, Nats, Labor and Greens. Fix that to have any hope of progress.

    21st Sep 2018
    11:40pm
    What is needed is a diversity of OPINION in the Parliament. That has nothing to do with gender, cultural origin etc. The problem is the lack of internal democracy in the political parties. That can and ought be legislated for.

    21st Sep 2018
    11:40pm
    What is needed is a diversity of OPINION in the Parliament. That has nothing to do with gender, cultural origin etc. The problem is the lack of internal democracy in the political parties. That can and ought be legislated for.
    Adrianus
    22nd Sep 2018
    7:53am
    I agree 100% with that LJ. However, the quest to democratise and diversify our political parties will remain but a dream in my lifetime, in my opinion.

    Only the voter can force this change by rewarding the parties which adhere to this philosophy.

    How will we know if a party has diversity of opinion? I guess members of that party will publicly disagree on policy settings?
    This may not be a bad thing if people (particularly those in the media) accept it at face value. The problem is that we see this as a sign of disunity. Are we mature enough to recognise the difference between healthy debate and disunity?
    Currently we reward our politicians for the wrong reasons in my opinion.
    mitch1945
    22nd Sep 2018
    12:12pm
    I think that the basis of having a percentage decide on how many women are to be in anything is ridiculous. Any position must be decided on qualifications and ability NOT GENDER.
    Celia
    22nd Sep 2018
    11:59pm
    I feel that up to date women would want to start a family and not be vocal in politics that is why there have been few women up to date in politics. Men have never had to put their careers on hold to start a family. It has only been recently that women would have the courage to feed their babies in public. Never mind take the baby into parliament. Personally I don't agree with a public noisy place to feed a baby.
    Adrianus
    24th Sep 2018
    5:11pm
    I know a few men who have put their careers on hold to raise a child. The difference these days is that with more women in the workforce the family has more options. Each case is different of course, but I would imagine that if 2 people love each other enough to marry and raise children then surely they would make decisions on such matters based on mutual needs. It may be different with some religious beliefs I suppose? Our largest group of unemployed is female Muslims.


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