Australia's first female-dominated political team sworn in


The first female-dominated political team in Australia has been unveiled by newly-elected Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

Eight women have been named as cabinet ministers in Queensland's new Labor Government, alongside six men.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk reduced the cabinet from 19 to 14 positions, promoting a number of first-time politicians into the coveted roles.

Among them is the state's first Indigenous politician Leeane Enoch, who was named Minister for Housing and Public Works, as well as Minister for Science and Innovation.

The cabinet is the first in Australia with the majority of ministers being women.

Outside of Queensland, Victoria's cabinet is the closest to reaching gender equality with women accounting for 41 per cent of the positions, or nine of the 22 ministerial roles.

It is followed by the ACT at 33 per cent, or two out of six, and New South Wales at 23 per cent, or five out of 22.

At a federal level, women only accounted for 11 per cent of ministerial positions, with Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Health Minister Sussan Ley working with 17 male colleagues.

The number of overall women in Australia’s federal parliament is low, coming in at 48th in a world ranking behind countries such as Rwanda, Afghanistan and Turkmenistan.

Women in national parliament: Australia’s world ranking 2001–2013

(Compiled from Inter-Parliamentary Union, Women in national Parliaments archive)

Federally, women account for less than one-third of all parliamentarians and one-fifth of all ministers.

A parliamentary report issued last year outlined highs and lows in terms of women in executive leadership roles, referring to a snapshot of female leaders in mid-2011 that showed women occupying four of the nine government leader positions in Australia.

  • Julia Gillard, the first female Prime Minister of Australia
  • Lara Giddings, the first female Premier of Tasmania
  • Katy Gallagher, the third female Chief Minister of the ACT
  • Anna Bligh, the first female Premier of Queensland

As of December 12, 2014, none of the four remained in those positions though Annastacia Palaszczuk has since been elected Queensland Premier.

The report also highlighted that the fact that no women have served as Leader of the Opposition at a federal level.

Representation of women in all Australian parliaments, 1997 to 2013

(Gender and party statistics for all Australian parliaments regularly published by Parliamentary Library)

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