Sussan Ley rejects gender quota call

Sussan Ley
Sussan Ley

THE member for Farrer, Sussan Ley, says she would prefer to be given a position in Parliament because of her merits rather than her gender.

The Liberal MP’s comments come after fellow backbencher and member for Murray Dr Sharman Stone told ABC Radio on Saturday — International Women’s Day — that their party should introduce quotas for women to boost female numbers.

“I’m beginning to think very seriously that really, the Liberal Party, we have to do more,” Dr Stone said.

The party opposes the Labor model which is yet to achieve its long-standing quota system goal of women in 40 per cent of seats.

Ms Ley, assistant minister for education, agrees with her party’s stance.

“I’ve observed over the years it’s a feeling they’re there because they’re filling a quota and are not there because of their ability,” Ms Ley said.

“I want to be here for my ability, for my merits.”

The Coalition government has been criticised for having only one woman, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, in Cabinet.

Sex discrimination commissioner Elizabeth Broderick told ABC Radio that with only 30 per cent of MPs being women, Parliament needed intervention to boost numbers.

“There is an assumption well-educated Australian women will just trickle into positions of power. We know it’s not true,” she said.

Ms Ley said there were a good number of women in the party and, ultimately, it was the electorate that decided.

“People choose their representative for different reasons,” she said.

She said her government’s paid parental leave scheme and childcare review would help retain women in high-powered positions.

“The reason we don’t have women in these positions is it’s not family-friendly,” she said.