Prime Minister Tony Abbott has now declared his support for a target to increase the number of Liberal women in parliament. It’s important progress, and it could open the door to meaningful change. Or it could end in more business as usual - with talented women left “knocking on the door of the cabinet”.
The Prime Minister has indicated he’ll be looking to an internal Party report for guidance on the specific targets and measures the Party should adopt to become less 'blokey'. That report is being prepared for the federal executive by a team that includes the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women Michaelia Cash and Senator Linda Reynolds.
Can you make sure they know voters want to see the Party work towards a target of equal representation? Take 5 minutes to send them a personal email via email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org and share your support for strong measures and a 50% goal.
Tips on what to write (click to show)
You can send your email to Minister Cash via email@example.com and to Senator Reynolds via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here are some helpful hints for putting together an effective email:
- Introduce yourself - Explain where you live and what you do. If you're a member of the Liberal Party or have volunteered or voted for the party, you might want to mention this.
- Explain the reason you're emailing - Let them know you were pleased to learn the Party are considering targets to improve the representation of women, and that you are getting in touch because you know they are preparing a report on the matter and wanted to express your support for strong action.
- Let them know why you believe strong action on this issue is important - outline why you consider this a serious issue, and be clear that you would like to see the Party working to achieve the same gender balance as the community it represents - and that means working towards a 50% goal.
Mention any specific measures you support - For example:
- Targets for the number of women pre-selected in winnable upper and lower house seats at every election. This has been suggested by NSW Deputy Liberal Leader Gladys Berejiklian.
- A requirement of equal number of female and male candidates at pre-selections. This has been suggested by Liberal MP Dr Sharman Stone. The Prime Minister's Chief of Staff Peta Credlin has also highlighted the importance of having women in pre-selection battles, noting 'our women are not in the safe seats, so when we lose government, we lose our pipeline.'
- Measures to improve women's representation in the Ministry and Cabinet.
- A code of conduct to prevent bullying and aggressive behaviour towards women, as suggested in an internal review of the Victorian Liberal Party earlier this year. This followed revelations that women were subjected to inappropriate questions and were being 'actively dissuaded' from standing for leadership positions.
- Targets for increased diversity of parliamentarians. For example, to address the under-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander women in our parliaments.
- Thank them for their time - Thank them in advance for considering your email.
Finally -- Once you've sent your email, please forward us a copy at email@example.com so we can keep track of all the powerful messages being sent on this issue!
1. Tony Abbott's targets not enough for some women, The Australian, 17 August 2015.
2. NSW Treasurer Gladys Berejiklian call sfor target of 50% women MPs, Sydney Morning Herald, 18 August 2015.
3. Sharman Stone says quotas for women are necessary, AFR, 28 July 2015.
4. Female Victoria Liberals asked who would cook for their families and 'bullied in own party', The Age, 29 March 2015.