Labor’s first casualties in defeat are its women

May 30, 2019

It’s disappointing to see women emerging as Labor’s first casualties in defeat. We all know the Coalition has a woman problem – a woeful representation of just 24 per cent women MPs. Its leadership team – PM, Deputy and Treasurer – are all blokes.

And while boasting yesterday that it had installed the highest number of women in the history of federal cabinets, the best the Coalition could do was a measly seven positions out of 23 – one better than the previous high of six in Kevin Rudd’s second ministry six years ago.

Now the parliamentary Labor caucus is expected to do no better than the Morrison boys’ club by producing an all-male leadership team of its own, with reports that its leader, deputy and shadow treasurer positions will all go to men. Only Penny Wong will occupy a senior leadership role as leader of government business in the Senate, with rumours former NSW premier Kristina Keneally is expected to be rolled by Don Farrell for deputy.

This is a devastating blow for Labor women, who are already reeling from the loss of important policies for women in early childhood, the gender pay gap and reproductive health, not to mention Tanya Plibersek’s decision to not contest the leadership ballot for family reasons.

Tanja Kovac in The SMH/Age