Australian PM Tony Abbott criticised for one-woman Cabinet
If Julia Gillard paved the way for future female leaders in Australia, there is no sign of that legacy in new Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s Cabinet, which contains just one woman: Julie Bishop, the Foreign Minister-elect.
The nation’s first female prime minister was elected in 2010 – and knifed by her own party three months ago. Now there are more women in Hamid Karzai’s Cabinet in Afghanistan than in Mr Abbott’s, according to the acting opposition leader, Chris Bowen, who said the country had taken a step backwards.
Announcing his ministerial line-up in Canberra on Monday, Mr Abbott said he was “obviously disappointed there aren’t more women in Cabinet”. But there were “some very good and talented women” in his Liberal-National Coalition, he said, “so I think you can expect to see, as time goes by, more women” in government.
Two other women were destined for the Cabinet, which is expected to be sworn in on Tuesday. But Sophie Mirabella, who was the Industry spokeswoman in opposition, is still fighting for her seat, 10 days after the election.
Meanwhile, Bronwyn Bishop, a veteran frontbencher, has been persuaded by Mr Abbott to become the parliamentary Speaker. There are five women in the outer ministry.
Mr Bowen – who was Treasurer in Kevin Rudd’s short-lived Labor government – said it was a “sad indictment” that the new Prime Minister could find only one female MP “meritorious enough to serve in his Cabinet”.
Even Liberal politicians, both serving and former, expressed consternation. Senator Sue Boyce, who will retire next year, said: “I think it’s shocking, and embarrassing… not just nationally, but… embarrassing internationally.”
When Mr Abbott’s mentor, John Howard, was elected in 1996, a record number of conservative women entered politics. Yet he only appointed two to the Cabinet. Mr Abbott halved that.
- 2 Maisie Williams has an excellent message for one confused fan
- 4 Tampon tax scrapped in Canada after petition convinces conservative government
- 5 Kate Moss on the naked Calvin Klein shoot and the obsession that ended her relationship
Saudi Arabia mosque bombing: Two volunteer security guards hailed as heroes for stopping Isis suicide bomber reaching worshippers
Maisie Williams has an excellent message for one confused fan
Archaeologists discover 2,400-year-old gold bongs in Russia
Tampon tax scrapped in Canada after petition convinces conservative government
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after British tourists complain of 'awkward' holidays
EU referendum: David Cameron's rules are a 'democratic disgrace', says French-born Scottish politician set to be denied a vote
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
A nation of inequality: How the UK is failing to feed its most vulnerable people
Australian man punched in the face for defending Muslim women from abuse on train
David Starkey 'tells Amal Clooney to shut up and stop over-promoting human rights'
EU referendum: David Cameron to deny EU migrants and under-18s the chance to vote
£16500 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the leading Mercedes-Ben...
£27500 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£19500 - £23500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Experienced B2B Telemarketer wa...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This global company are looking for two Showro...