Gender Quotas Database

See data for special areas Taiwan and Kosovo



Australia and New Zealand

Australia has a Bicameral parliament with the use of voluntary party quotas. 57 of 151 (38%) seats in the House of Representatives are held by women.

At a glance

Structure of parliament Bicameral

Are there legislated quotas

For the Single / Lower house? No
For the Upper house? No
For the Sub-national level? No

Are there voluntary quotas?

Adopted by political parties? Yes
Is there additional information? Yes

Single / Lower House

House of Representatives

Upper House


Voluntary Political Party Quotas*

* Only political parties represented in parliament are included. When a country has legislated quotas in place, only political parties that have voluntary quotas that exceed the percentage/number of the national quota legislation are presented in this table.

Additional information

In 1902 Australia became the first nation to introduce equal federal suffrage. The enactment of the Commonwealth Franchise Act in that year allowed women to both vote and stand for election. However, despite this ground-breaking legislation, it took another 41 years for the first women to be elected to the Australian Parliament (National Museum Australia).



Legal Sources:

  • Constitution of Australia - Link
  • Electoral Law - Link

Other Sources:

Additional reading

  • See the latest updates on Australia on iKNOW Politics
  • The Guardian, Gender breakdown in parliament: Australia beats UK, US, Canada in female representation, 2021, The Guardian
  • Parliament of Australia. 2019. "Members by Gender". Online. Available here
  • McCann, J. and Sawer, M. 2018. 'Australia: The Slow Road to Parliament', in Susan Franceschet, Mona Lena Krook and Netina Tan (eds) The Palgrave Handbook of Women's Rights, Palgrave Macmillan: London
  • Krook, M.L. et al 2006. 'Western Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand: Gender Quotas in the Context of Citizenship Models', in Dahlerup, D. (ed.) Women, Quotas and Politics, London/New York: Routledge, pp. 194-221.
  • Whip, R. 2003. ‘The 1996 Australian Federal Election and its Aftermath: a Case for Equal Gender Representation’, Australian Feminist Studies, 18, 40: 73–97.
  • Chappell, L.A. 2002. Gendering Government: Feminist Engagement with the State in
    Australiaand Canada, Toronto: UBC Press.
  • Sawer, M. 2002. ‘The Representation of Women in Australia: Meaning and Make-Believe’, in K. Ross (ed.) Women, Politics, and Change, New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 5–18.
  • Tuohy, W. 2002. ‘Labor’s young women ready to rumble’, The Age, 12 October.
  • Johnson, C. 2000. ‘The Fragility of Democratic Reform: New Challenges to Australian
    Women’s Citizenship’, in S.M. Rai (ed.) International Perspectives on Gender and Democratisation, New York: St. Martin’s Press, pp. 182–201.
  • Van Acker, E. 1999. Different Voices: Gender and Politics in Australia. South Yarra: Macmillan Education Australia.
  • Carney, S. 1996. ‘Labor Women are still doing it for themselves’, The Age, 16 November.
  • Zeitlin, D. 1996. ‘We’re Here because we’re Here: Women and the ALP Quota’, in Gender, Politics and Citizenship in the 1990s. Barbara Sullivan and Gillian Whitehouse (eds). Sydney: University of New South Wales.
  • Pickles, C. 1995. ‘Gender Equity: Barriers to Electing More Women to Parliament – and Some Solutions’, Parliamentarian. Vol. 76, no. 4. pp. 290-293.
  • Sawer, M. 1994. ‘Locked Out or Locked In? Women and Politics in Australia’, in B.J. Nelson and N. Chowdhury (eds) Women and Politics Worldwide, New Haven: Yale University Press, pp. 73–91.
  • Simms, M. 1993. ‘Two Steps Forward, One Step Back: Women and the Australian
    Party System’, in J. Lovenduski and P. Norris (eds) Gender and Party Politics, Thousand Oaks: Sage, pp. 16-34.

Explore more resources: Oceania | Global

Know about useful additional reading for Australia? Tell us!

Submit feedback

Submit questions or comments about the Data or Tool

How did you find out about this? What do you like about it? What did you expect but did not find in using the Data or Tool?

To see how we handle your personal data, please read our Privacy Policy.

Close tooltip