A letter to the editor in this morning’s Australian:
CRITICISMS of the failure of the Abbott government to promote women of merit into cabinet are fully justified. However, these criticisms are devalued when espoused by those who have done so little to support women of merit in the Labor Party.
In the last Labor caucus there were 14 MPs from the Victorian Right faction but only three were women. With one retiring, and one the Speaker, it left only one woman to be promoted into cabinet. One woman from the Victorian Right compared to three male MPs appointed as parliamentary secretaries and the three male members of cabinet.
The Right faction is the majority faction in caucus. In the Rudd government, NSW and Victoria had 32 MPs from the Right faction in the caucus – 24 men and eight women. Yet this dominant faction promoted only one woman from NSW into the ministry and one into cabinet from Victoria. So much for the promotion of women.
In the leadership ballot, paying lip-service to women’s representation will no longer do. Let’s hope the input of the membership in the selection of leader will provide the impetus to redress the under-representation of Labor women in the party’s structures and in parliament.
Jennie George, Mollymook, NSW