The Liberal Party should introduce mandatory quotas for women to help boost the number of females in Parliament, according to a long-serving Federal Government MP.
Victorian Liberal backbencher Sharman Stone has suggested her colleagues should look to Labor for ideas about how to get more women into politics.
The Labor Party has long had a quota system in place, although it has not yet achieved its target of getting women into 40 per cent of its seats.
“I’m beginning to think very seriously that really the Liberal Party, we have to do more,” Dr Stone told Saturday AM.
Dr Stone says she was very disappointed to see her Liberal colleagues recently dump Mary Wooldridge from the safe Victorian state seat of Kew.
The former minister says the Liberal Party must do more to ensure women are pre-selected in winnable seats.
Speaking ahead of today’s International Women’s day celebrations, Dr Stone says her views have changed over time because she is seeing fewer women joining her party.
“We’ve got to be, I think, much more structured about making sure women come through,” she said.
The Liberal Party has long opposed the Labor model of quotas, arguing candidates should be preselected on merit rather than gender.
Dr Stone rejects suggestions from some of her partyroom colleagues that quotas will simply see “token” women enter parliament.
“I don’t care about that ‘tokenism’ label; bring it on if you must,” she said.
“We’ll prove that it’s not about a woman being simply put there because of her gender – she’ll prove her worth.
“Put her in the place and stand back and watch her grow.”
The Prime Minister has been criticised for the make up of his cabinet because it only includes one woman: Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.
While she says the level of female cabinet representation is “disappointing”, Dr Stone predicts Tony Abbott will look for more women when he eventually reshuffles his ministry.
Dr Stone, who represents the once-safe National Party seat of Murray, became a junior minister in the Howard government and served on the Coalition frontbench when Mr Abbott was opposition leader.