More? Women. Now?

7/8 of the women in the 2015 Queensland Cabinet - Coralee O'Rourke isn't in this shot

7/8 of the women in the 2015 Queensland Cabinet – Coralee O’Rourke isn’t in this shot

Very few people will disagree that politics needs to be more representative of the community – if we were truly choosing candidates on merit we would see more women politicians, more indigenous Australians, more migrants and their descendants, and proportionately fewer middle-aged, heterosexual, anglo men*.

After the 2015 Queensland State election, the Labor side of the Queensland Parliament is 37% women.  Overall the Queensland Parliament is 28% women.

Plus, Queensland has a woman Premier, a woman Deputy Premier, and eight out of 14 Cabinet members are women.  Overall, this is a world record: as far as I can find, never before in the history of Parliamentary democracy have elections thrown up a Government in which women are so strongly represented.

Never. Before.**

When Finland formed its 73rd Government eight months before the Palaszczuk Government took office, they had a majority of women in Cabinet.  I’m claiming a win for Queensland and Australia on the strength of women holding the two most senior positions*** while in Finland the Prime Minister and Deputy are men.

(The Bolivian Legislative Assembly is 49% women, Rwanda has 64%, Andorra has 50.0 %, Cuba 49% and Seychelles 44%:

So why isn’t the Queensland Government, at least, championing the current extraordinary crew of women role models in State Parliament, to encourage more diverse involvement in civic issues?


* Such as me.  We need less of me.  I’m over-represented in politics.
** If I’m wrong, tell me now, OK – my research resources are good, but not unlimited.
*** Finnophiles might argue that theirs is a national Government and Queensland’s is but a state, but my point is about the capacity of the democratic system to elect women leaders.


About Mike Smith

Partner in Ethical Consulting Services:; sometime University lecturer; previously Government Relations consultant; before that Labor Party State Secretary in Northern Territory; union advocate with LHMU/United Voice in NT and NSW; hobby – election campaigns!

Posted on April 29, 2015, in Change, Culture, Culture change, Democracy, Election, Leadership, Politics, Queensland, Queensland Government, Women and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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