Federal election candidate list – more women running

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I have just finished a big update of my list of candidates running for the House of Representatives at the upcoming federal election, and I thought it was a good time to share this list.

The most interesting revelation is that the proportion of candidates who are women has shot up, from just over 32% in 2019 to 42% in 2022. This is partly powered by a radical change in the kind of person running as an independent, but is also driven by increases in the proportion of women by all the bigger parties.

My list contains 636 candidates. Thanks to everyone who has posted candidate announcements, which I’ve supplemented by consulting Antony Green’s list and the list on Wikipedia. This compares to a final count of 1056 candidates in 2019, and 994 in 2016.

The list includes 126 Labor candidates, 94 Greens candidates and 122 Coalition candidates. The Coalition so far has two candidates announced in two seats: Indi and Nicholls both in northern Victoria. This leaves 25 seats without Labor candidates, 31 without a Coalition candidate, and 57 without a Greens candidate.

The United Australia Party has announced candidates in 150 electorates, mostly in one big press release. The only seat missing a candidate is Hindmarsh in South Australia. Most of the UAP candidates are complete unknowns online. I had very little luck tracking down web addresses or email addresses, let alone biographies, of these candidates. The UAP’s deep pockets will make it easier for them to run candidates even in seats where they have no local presence, and this is all the more evidence that we need to shift away from managing the size of ballot papers by increasing nomination fees, and instead try reimposing local nominator requirements on political parties.

Another 17 parties have also announced candidates. Four of them have only announced one candidate. The Liberal Democrats have announced 29 candidates, with the New Liberals running 14, and the Victorian Socialists running eleven, along with three Socialist Alliance candidates. There is actually two socialist parties running in Wills in inner Melbourne.

The other parties are Animal Justice, Informed Medical Opinions, Indigenous-Australia, Australian Christians, Socialist Alliance, Katter’s Australian Party, Democratic Alliance, Jacqui Lambie Network, Great Australian Party, Reason, Progressives, Centre Alliance and the Local Party.

As usual I have coded the gender of candidates announced so far, and I’ve noticed a major increase in the numbers of women running so far.

267 out of 636 candidates, or 42.0%, are women. This compares to about 32% in 2016 and 2019, and under 28% in 2013.

There have been increases for all of the big parties. The Coalition parties are up slightly from 28.4% to 29.5%. Labor is up from 43.7% to 47.6%, and the Greens are up from 43.1% to 52.1%. Even the UAP is up from 17.2% to 34.7%.

The most interesting shift is amongst the independents. In 2019, there were 97 independent candidates. So far in 2022 I've identified 46 independents - so roughly half the number. Of those independents in 2019, just 22.7% were women. In 2022, 65.2% are women. In raw numbers, there were 22 female independents in 2019, and there have already been 30 announcements amongst female independents in 2022. So in raw numbers there are already a lot more women running as independents.

I've noticed this anecdotally as I've been visiting candidate websites. There's a lot of candidates with a similar style who are obviously following the 'Voices' template. Their websites look similar, almost all of them are women, almost all are white. They cover the expected high-education inner city Liberal seats, but they are also in seats like Cowper, Calare and Groom.

Of course, these numbers are not complete. It's possible that any or all of these parties will run more men in the seats yet to be announced, but it's hard to see this trend reversing sufficiently to not see a big increase in the proportion of women running.

Finally, I've looked at the number of candidates per seat. I now have at least one candidate announced per electorate, although I am including a handful of sitting MPs who plan to run but have not been officially preselected (such as Trent Zimmerman and Alex Hawke). On average there are 4.2 candidate per seat.

There are 19 seats with only two candidates running. This includes my seat of Parramatta, a marginal Labor seat where the only announced candidates are an independent and a UAP candidate, neither of whom have any information online.

There are three seats with seven candidates (Corangamite, Flinders and Ryan) and one other with eight candidates (Robertson).

If you'd like to view the list, you can view it here. I have now updated all of the candidate lists on each seat guide. I probably won't do so again until after the South Australian state election.

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15 COMMENTS

  1. UAP candidate Joseph O’Connor MIA in the electorate of Chifley. Sadly all candidates in the electorate of Chifley are useless.

  2. hey Ben,

    The ACP is actually the Australian Citizen’s Party (aka the Citizen’s Electoral Council)
    The Christians’ candidates are:
    (Senate)
    Mike Crichton
    Maryka Groenewald
    Warnar Spyker (Burt)
    Dean Powell (Perth)
    Dena Gower (Swan)

  3. Hi Ben

    Really useful work – thank you. The work of Women for Election Australia, and Trawalla Foundation Pathways to Politics for Women may be part of the confidence, awareness and skill development enabling a larger pool of women to put their hand up. Also the Community Independents Project that offers a way to share experiences and ideas.

    Have you looked at the Senate for women candidates as well. Massive task, I know. (As is the extraordinary work in putting together this initial table). I am standing as an Independent for Victoria.

    Also, Claire Ferres Miles has been announced as a independent candidate for the seat of Casey.

  4. Despite being on the left I have always said it should be based on a candidates qualities (merit) rather than because of what they look like, what gender they are or their ethnicity. I’m afraid It’s woke of the left to think merit is lesser than everything else.

    While I am glad more women are running and I encourage more to do so. The parties shouldn’t be simply selecting a candidate just because they are a women. if there is a more qualifying candidate who is man, what is the issue? It’s about electing the best person not what they look like. And vice versa if the better candidate happens to be a woman then select her because of her merit. not because of the gender.

    This is a big issue in the U.S as well. Like picking a SCOTUS justice just because she’s a woman and the colour of her skin. It is wrong and it always should be based on merit. saying that you’ll only exclusively pick someone of a certain race or gender is wrong.

  5. @ Daniel – I totally agree that people should be selected on merit – not to fill a quota.

    It is amazing how many people I have come across who are filling quotas – have no respect for themselves and are useless. I know of one person who was filling the quota and just lost her company $8billion in work. If it was a non-quota person they would have been sacked immediately.

    Then I serve on a Board with a female chair – who is brilliant and has said to me I will not serve on boards to fill quotas and has quit boards when she was the token female.

    Pick on merit – you get better results and surprising get the right balance and a lot better results.

  6. What do you mean when you say “merit”? And what makes someone “qualified” to be a member of parliament?

    The core qualification of an MP is not any particular degree or expertise, but their ability to represent their people, and that relies on a diverse and representative range of parliamentarians. A system which chooses mostly men, or mostly white people, is failing to achieve that. I don’t see where the “merit” is there.

    Let’s look at the Coalition, for example. They are dominated by men in parliament, plenty of them are mediocre. In my experience, replacing some of those people improves the quality of MPs.

    There’s probably thousands of people in this country who could be good MPs, changing procedures to select a different subset of them to be elected doesn’t mean choosing people who don’t have merit.

    Likewise with the US Supreme Court – if you really don’t think there’s a black woman who is qualified enough to earn a position on the Court it says more about you.

    Anyway this post is not about any particular system of quotas or affirmative action – there are a bunch of different forces leading to increasing numbers of women running for office. I’ve previously analysed how female candidates perform at the polls – and they do just as well, often better, than male candidates. It’s usually the internal structures of political parties that prevent them getting the opportunity. Part of that is inertia, retaining sitting MPs who are more likely to be male, but even when a seat has no incumbent, Coalition parties tend to run women for marginal seats and men for safer seats. That doesn’t sound like “merit” to me.

  7. Ive said this before. It’s worth saying again. The talent pool of political candidates is NOT so deep as to be able to discriminate in ANY WAY at all !!. At least not without a vast qualitative effect !!.
    I DARE ANYONE TO DEBATE THIS !!.

    On a more positive note : What would be inspiring is to see a new cohort of politicians, genuinely interested in what the people want, their lives, their reality, their future. Voters are like customers, the forgotten audience.
    Representatives focused on the national interest, rather than self-interest . Now that would be different .

  8. Well said, Ben. Funny that talk of “merit” and the boogeyman of undeservedness only seems to come up when women are concerned; nobody harps on about the need for a meritorious replacement for any of the many self-evidently useless male politicians we see around the various Parliaments. Not once did this blog post mention quotas yet here the discussion turns. I wonder why?

    Winediamond, I’ll be happy to debate your claim, or at least dispute your premise. The potential pool of political candidates numbers in the millions, but we rarely hear about more than a few hundred names. This is not because these are truly the only people in the entire country who could possibly take part in politics, it is because of many needless biases that prevent perfectly meritorious potential candidates from ever being seen as such. Gender and ethnic background get some acknowledgment (along with some pushback, even from some like Daniel ostensibly on the left) but honestly there are even subtler biases – “insider” vs “outsider” you might describe it – which work to make the talent pool of active political candidates as shallow as you find it. While I am not much of a fan of the Voices movement, it must be said that they have made an effort to nominate candidates who would not otherwise be involved in politics, and that is a laudable gain for democratic culture in its own right.

  9. How many members of parliament are under the age of 30? How many members of parliament have worked in STEM? I genuinely feel unrepresented due the the discrepancy between parliament and the overall population in these demographics – and the disparities here are astronomically larger than for gender!

    I want to see a parliament with gender equity. But in an ideal world, I want to see much more than that – there are a multitude of other ways in which our parliament is not representative.

    I always vote below-the-line, and when it comes to the Labor candidates, I always check which ones are trade unionists. I number those last of the Labor candidates. Nothing against trade unions, to the contrary I have a lot of respect for trade unionists – it’s just there are already too many in parliament.

    It would seem that this may be an argument for doing away with single-member electorates, and perhaps in favour of electing all members of parliament from a single at-large electorate. If each member of parliament were to represent their electorate as best as possible with respect to gender, an overwhelming majority of them would need to be female!

  10. Women make up 51% of the population. If the percentage of women in parliament is much lower than this, either you believe we’re not electing people completely based on merit, or you believe that women are less capable of being MPs than men are. Seeing as we’ve had many good female parliamentarians in the past (as well as many corrupt or useless male parliamentarians), I find the latter idea very hard to believe.

    Most MPs come from the major parties, and to win preselection for them, you need to curry favour with the party hierarchy, which in both major parties is mostly controlled by men. At least Labor has made a serious effort to give more women a chance to run (though I’d like to see a breakdown on that between seats where Labor are competitive and where they’re not). The Liberals by contrast seem to have remained a boys club. Yes, they’ve increased their percentage of female candidates this election, but I really doubt that among all Australian citizens sharing Liberal Party values who would be competent and honest as MPs, more than twice as many are men.

  11. @Wilson

    “I really doubt that among all Australian citizens sharing Liberal Party values … more than twice as many are men.”

    Actually, I can believe that.

    Let me present a more extreme example that nonetheless demonstrates the point I am making. If there were a “Men’s Rights Party”, it would be unsurprising if most of their candidates were men. When discussing that party in the context of gender, the first remark you would make would not be about the gender composition of their candidates. Because that is merely a symptom of the ideology and values of the party itself.

    To a much lesser but still significant extent, the same is true of the Liberal Party.

  12. Thank you for this work and your reflections on ‘merit’. Merit is only raised in response to women, snd it’s a really tedious and out of date argument still resorted to by some. Id like to comment on diversity generally – dual nationals are not eligible to stand for Federal Parliament and this must be a significant drag on getting a parliamentary body that looks more like Australia. It locks out millions of Australians who do not want to or are not able to give up their original citizenship. In a globalised world, and in a migrant society these old parts of the Australian Constitution are holding us back IMO. Glad to see competent women standing as pro community pro climate Independents.

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