New Nationals leader David Littleproud has rejected calls for gender-based quotas in his party after growing calls for more female representation in the party.
A number of Liberal women have voiced their support for new ‘temporary’ quotas in a bid to place the Coalition in better position following a crushing election loss.
Liberal party leader Peter Dutton has so far rejected a quota selection system, opting instead to maintain a merit-based selection process which has placed 10 women into cabinet.
Former defence minister Linda Reynolds cited the recent election defeat as a strong reason to implement the measure, while others in the party are not convinced, wanting to maintain the existing system.
“I remain convinced we must implement enduring gender targets,” she told The Australian.
“In light of the outcome of the last election, I’m now also open to the concept of temporary quotas.”
The report stated:
The dire result has triggered a fresh debate within the Liberal Party about how to encourage women to run for preselection and election, preferably in winnable seats. “I remain convinced we must implement enduring gender targets. In light of the outcome of the last election, I’m now also open to the concept of temporary quotas,” Senator Reynolds said.
Despite the party’s slow progress towards gender parity, acting Opposition Leader Sussan Ley said its 2025 target of 50 per cent female representation should remain.
Littleproud said he discuss the Liberal Party’s stance but insisted the Nationals were on top of gender party issues.
“I’m very conscious about the fact in the Nationals I’d like to see more women stand up and we create that environment for them to feel comfortable to come forward,” Littleproud told Sky News Australia.
“I don’t support quotas straight out but my job and those men right across all political spectrums – their responsibility is to come forward and create that environment.
Littleproud took the party’s reins from Barnaby Joyce after the Coalition’s election loss to Labor’s Albanese government.