FARRER MP Sussan Ley wants to see a mandated 40 per cent of women vying for seats in the federal parliament as Liberal Party candidates by 2030.
Ms Ley, who was first elected in 2001 when the Coalition had six women from her state in office, has again come out in support of a gender quota in parliament and hopes the NSW Liberal Party can lead the way on the issue.
She is among only 12 women in the Coalition’s 74 seats in the House of Representatives with the already thin ranks of females taking hit when Julia Banks quit the Liberals to sit on the cross-bench with Indi MP Cathy McGowan.
Ms Ley and Ms McGowan’s predecessor in neighbouring Indi, Sophie Mirabella, both entered parliament in 2001 to become the first females to represent their electorates in Canberra.
“As I said last year the numbers are self-evident,” Ms Ley said.
“I believe state divisions should look at introducing quotas for female candidates in preselections, in order to ultimately increase female representation in the parliamentary party.
“When I entered parliament in 2001, we had six Coalition women from NSW in the House of Representatives.
“It’s half that number at the moment, so clearly aspirational targets are not working.”
Steve Martin will be aiming to become the first male to hold the seat since Lou Lieberman, who retired from federal politics in the lead-up to the 2001 election.
The state seats of Albury and Benambra have never been held by a woman.
Ms Ley has no female rivals to date in Farrer for this year’s election with Labor and Greens choosing male teachers Kieran Drabsch and Dean Moss respectively.
“At the next meeting of the NSW Parliamentary Liberal Party I will be arguing for us to adopt sensible quota targets to boost females running for preselection and election in my home state,” Ms Ley said.
“Forty per cent of women in winnable seats by 2030 might be a good place to at least start a discussion.
“We shouldn’t just be choosing women ahead of a good male candidates for the sake of it. But if we work harder to attract women as party members, I am sure we will have no shortage of excellent people coming through.”
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