After an election where the vast majority of candidates running were men, the male-dominated Coalition won seats, and today a new cabinet will be sworn in with only one woman, it may be surprising to know that the number of women in the new Parliament will be increased.
In the House of Representatives, the number of women has increased from 37 in 2010 to 39 in 2013, out of a total of 150.
In the Senate, the number of female Senators will fall from thirty to 28 when the new Senate takes office on 1 July 2014.
Overall, this results in a net increase of one woman in the new Parliament, although the number of Senators could vary from 27 to 31.
Both Labor and the Coalition have increased their proportions of women in their House delegations. The ALP lost three men and three women in the Senate, while the Coalition has the exact same number of men and women in the Senate as before the election.
The Greens Senate delegation has only changed slightly, with the addition of a seventh woman to their team of ten.
The main backwards move is the non-Greens crossbench in the Senate. Nick Xenophon and John Madigan are currently on track to be joined by five more men, with only a small chance that one woman could be elected for the Palmer United Party in Tasmania.
Correction: due to a coding error I had one LNP member from Queensland listed as female, when he is actually male. The attached spreadsheet and the table above have been adjusted.
I’ve identified six seats where I think it’s conceivable there could be a change to effect these numbers:
- Fairfax – Clive Palmer is currently leading by an extremely slim margin over the LNP’s Ted O’Brien. His election wouldn’t effect the overall gender balance but would have increased the proportion of men in the Coalition party room.
- ACT Senate – The Liberal Party’s Zed Seselja is likely but not certain in winning over the Greens’ Simon Sheikh. Again no change in overall balance but would reduce male proportion of Coalition and increase male proportion of Greens.
- NSW Senate – The Liberal Party’s Arthur Sinodinos is very likely to win, but slim chance for Greens’ Cate Faehrmann, which would change gender balance.
- Tas Senate – The favourite for the final seat is the Liberal candidate, a woman, but there is a possibility either a female Palmer United Party candidate or a male Sex Party candidate could win.
- Vic Senate – The male Motoring Enthusiasts Party could lose to the Liberal Party’s Helen Kroger.
- WA Senate – The male Greens Senator Scott Ludlam could lose to female Labor Senator Louise Pratt.