Maps of federal MPs by gender


A year ago I made a map where I colour-coded seats in the NSW parliament according to gender. With the rise of our first female Prime Minister, and the impending federal election, I figured it would be worth making a similar map for federal electorates.

After the fold, I have maps showing the gender of each federal MP after the last federal election.

At the 2007 federal election, 110 men and 40 women won seats in the House of Representatives. Since that election, there have been five by-elections. In three of those by-elections Liberal or National male MPs were replaced by men from the same party, thus not affecting the figures. In the seat of Lyne a Nationals man was replaced by an independent man. In the seat of Higgins, Peter Costello was replaced by Kelly O’Dwyer, bringing the number of women in the House of Representatives to 41. Most of the following figures ignore the results of the Lyne and Higgins by-elections, although the seat of Higgins is highlighted in yellow to indicate that the seat was  originally held by a man and is now held by a woman.

Out of the 150 seats in the federal parliament, at the 2007 election the breakdown of seats by party and gender were:

  • Labor – 27/83 – 32.5%
  • Liberal – 12/55 – 21.8%
  • National – 1/10 – 10.0%
  • Independent – 0/2

Clearly the ALP has the highest proportion of women in Parliament, with just under one third of its lower house seats being held by women. The Liberal Party has much better representation of women than their smaller coalition partner. Indeed, a majority of Liberal women hold seats in regional areas, with seven Liberal women holding seats in regional New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia. The remaining five Liberal women include three in Sydney and one each in Perth and the Gold Coast.

Breaking down seats by state, you get the following split:

  • NSW – 17/49 – 34.7%
  • VIC – 9/37 – 24.3%
  • QLD – 4/29 – 13.8%
  • WA – 5/15 – 33.3%
  • SA – 2/11 – 18.2%
  • TAS – 2/5 – 40.0%
  • ACT – 1/2 – 50.0%
  • NT – 0/2

The gender split is strongest particularly in Tasmania, New South Wales and Western Australia, and the ACT where one of their two seats is held by a woman. Almost half of all women in the House of Representatives hail from New South Wales.

In contrast, there are only four Queensland women in the House, and only two Labor women from South Australia.

Gender of federal MPs after the 2007 federal election. Seats held by men in blue, seats held by women in red.

In regional Australia, most seats are held by men with a few exceptions. There is a block of five seats in southwestern NSW and northern Victoria all held by female Coalition MPs, in Farrer, Riverina, McEwen, Murray and Indi. The two large rural seats of Pearce and Forrest in Western Australia are both held by Liberal women. All regional seats in South Australia are held by men, as is Lingiari in the Northern Territory. With the exception of Capricornia, all regional seats in Queensland are held by men.

Southern NSW and the Australian Capital Territory.

All three seats in the Illawarra region: Throsby, Cunningham and Gilmore, are held by women, as is Newcastle and Shortland in the Hunter region. The two central coast seats are split, with one seat held by a woman and one by a man.


In Sydney, there are seven seats held by women. Greenway, Hughes and Mackellar are all held by Liberal women, while Labor women hold Sydney, Bennelong, Parramatta and Fowler.


Prior to the 2009 Higgins by-election, there were no Liberal seats in Melbourne held by women, although the regional seat of McEwen includes parts of the fringes of Melbourne.

South-east Queensland and northern NSW.

The ALP seats of Bonner and Petrie in Brisbane are both held by women. The only female Liberal MP in Queensland seat of McPherson, at the southern end of the Gold Coast. This seat borders Richmond, which along with Page are both Labor seats in northern NSW held by women.


The only two South Australian women in the House of Representatives are Labor MPs Kate Ellis and Amanda Rishworth.


There are five female MPs in Western Australia: Liberal MPs in the regional seats of Pearce and Forrest, and three in Perth itself. Liberal deputy leader Julie Bishop holds Curtin, while Labor MPs Melissa Parke and Sharryn Jackson.

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  1. I wonder what the figures look like if we updated the results using preselected candidates and assumed the same party wins the seat in 2010? That could tell us whether there is progress toward gender balance ….

  2. Well, based on notional seat status, the gender changes would be as follows:
    Bass – ALP female replaced by male.
    Dickson – LIB male replaced by ALP female.
    Fowler – ALP female replaced by male.
    Gilmore – LIB female replaced by ALP male.
    Hughes – LIB female replaced by male.
    Macquarie – ALP male replaced by female.
    McEwen – LIB female replaced by male.
    Melbourne – ALP male replaced by female.
    Riverina – NAT female replaced by male.
    Ryan – LIB male replaced by female. (assuming Johnson lost to new Lib candidate)
    Throsby – ALP female replaced by male.

    And of course Higgins. Have I missed any?

    So I make that a net total of -2 female MPs overall.

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