This SMH report of 19 May 2016 discusses the likelihood that female representation in parliament is set to go down at the next federal election.
We add that democracy5050 is a democratic solution to the problem of achieving gender balance in representation.
- Balanced representation is a democratic necessity
- We cannot rely on the parties to achieve this
- Gender balance is required in the House and the Senate - counting heads for both houses hides the entrenched discrimination against women entering the house
- Women are often left by the major parties to contest marginal seats and not 'safe seats'
Outgoing Liberal MP Sharman Stone has warned the number of women in Parliament is likely to fall after the July 2 election, with at least four retiring female MPs in safe seats set to be replaced by men.
Of the 62 seats identified by the Australian Electoral Commission as marginal and seats where the sitting member is retiring or has been disendorsed by their party, 26 will be contested by two men from the major parties and 14 will be contested by two women.
The 44th Parliament, which was officially dissolved on Monday, included 72 female MPs - above the average for the past four parliaments of 64.25 female members - out of a total 226 elected representatives.
While some preselections are yet to be finalised by the major parties, Labor will stand at least 47 lower house female candidates. The Coalition will stand at least 32, compared with 43 from the Greens. There are 150 seats in the lower house.
Retiring Liberal MP Dr Sharman Stone said a 50 per cent goal for Canberra was "an excellent aspiration" but changes to how Parliament works were also required.
"The reputation now of Parliament and of parliamentarians doesn't encourage a lot of people to even bother.
"That reputation is fuelled by a lot of journalists who are lazy, who just go to Question Time and just report on the cut and thrust, and don't report on the bipartisanship that is there. If you read the media, all you ever see is people throwing bricks at Question Time and a lot of women aren't interested in that sort of thing.
"Like men, they go into Parliament because they want to make a change. The apparent fisticuffs and behaviour make a lot of women wonder why they would want to waste their time," she said.
Related democracy5050 posts:
News Limited article 13 May http://goo.gl/npQwU7
Women’s Weekly online 18 May http://goo.gl/PbFXss