Upper house

Treasurer shuffles figures on liberal women in parliament

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says the number of liberal female politicians in the federal parliament is not high enough – but the party’s current status is significantly lower than the 38 percent he suggests.

According to the criteria used in the calculations, between 26.7 and 30.4 percent of all parliamentarians in the Liberal Party are women. Mr Frydenberg’s figure is only correct for the Senate.

The treasurer made the comment during an appearance on ABC’s Insiders program on December 5 during a discussion on the Gender Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins Critical Report in the parliamentary culture of work. The report recommended that targets be set to achieve a gender balance among parliamentarians.

Asked about his party’s female representation in the Federal Parliament, Mr. Frydenberg said, “Well, in the Liberal Party we’re at about 38%. And we have to do better. (Video mark 13min 25sec).

After host David Speers questioned the 38% figure, suggesting it was actually only 25 or 26%, Mr Frydenberg replied, “Well, it’s lower in the bedroom ( of Representatives), higher in the Senate. “

When contacted by AAP fact check Of Mr Frydenberg’s comments, a spokeswoman said the treasurer noted that about 38% of Liberal Party senators were women.

However, Mr Frydenberg’s on-air remarks did not include the qualification that he was only talking about party senators. His comments were first interpreted as referring to all parliamentarians of the Liberal Party in a Guardian report on the interview.

An analysis of the gender composition of each party in the Australian parliament is detailed in a research paper from the parliamentary library. It shows that as of November 15, 2021, the Liberal Party had 60 deputies in the lower house and 30 senators in the upper house, including Queensland. National Liberal Party (LNP) politicians who sit with the Liberals.

Of those 90 federal politicians from both chambers, 24 were women (26.7%), while 66 were men (73.3%). Figures do not include Greg Mirabella, which has not yet taken place retired Liberal Senator Scott Ryan, who resigned on October 13.

Excluding LNP politicians who sit with the party, the Liberals have 69 parliamentarians, of whom 21 (30.4%) are women.

Frydenberg was right, however, to say that the proportion of women in the Liberal Party is higher in the Senate than in the House of Representatives. The research paper showed that 21.7% of liberals in the lower house were women, compared to 36.7% in the Senate, including LNP parliamentarians who sit with the party.

Excluding LNP politicians, the distribution of the Liberal Party is 25.6% women in the lower house and 38.5% women in the Senate.

By comparison, women made up 46 of 94 Labor federal parliamentarians (48.9%), six of 21 National Party parliamentarians (28.6%) and six of 10 green parliamentarians (60%), according to the research paper.

Overall, women made up 38.5% of all federal parliamentarians, with the exception of Mr. Mirabella. The proportion was significantly higher in the Senate than in the House of Representatives; 53.3 percent of senators were women, compared to 31.1 percent of lower house deputies.

At the time of this writing, Australia was in 56th place in the world ranking for the proportion of women parliamentarians in the lower house, according to data from the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), a global body of national parliaments.

Rwanda tops the list with 49 women among its 80 MPs (61.3%), while New Zealand is sixth with women representing 49.2% of MPs. The relatively high proportion of women senators in Australia, however, places it among the best nations when comparing percentage of women in upper chambers.

The verdict

Women do not represent 38 percent of federal parliamentarians in the Liberal Party; the figure is only correct when applied to the Senate alone.

When you consider both the upper and lower houses, 26.7 percent of the seats in the Liberal Party are women. The figure rises to 30.4 percent when LNP members are excluded.

Misleading – The claim is partly correct, but information has also been presented incorrectly, out of context or omitted.

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