Gender Quotas Database

Country Data

EXPLORE QUOTA DATA    

 

Australia (Commonwealth of Australia)

Australia (Commonwealth of Australia) has a Bicameral parliament with the use of voluntary party quotas. 58 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

Last updated: Aug 16, 2022

Single/Lower House

House of Representatives

Total seats 151
Total Women 58
% Women 38%
Election Year 2022
Electoral System AV
Quota Type No legislated
Election details IDEA Voter Turnout - IPU Parline

Upper House

Senate

Total seats 76
Total Women 43
% Women 57%
Election Year 2022
Electoral System AV
Quota Type No legislated>
Election details IPU Parline
  Legal source Details
Quota type: No legislated Constitution  
Electoral law  
Legal sanctions for non-compliance No data available
Rank order/placement rules No data available

Voluntary Political Party Quotas*

Party Official name Details, Quota provisions
Australian Labor Party [ALP] In 2002 the ALP introduced a 40 per cent quota for party positions, union delegations and for pre-selection for public office and positions at a State and federal level, building on a 35 per cent quota introduced in 1994. Either of the sexes shall be represented by no less than 40 per cent on party electoral lists. (National Platform and Constitution 2009, Article 10a.) The ALP has adopted a 50 per cent gender diversity target for government boards to be achieved within the first term of a Labor government and 40 per cent for women's representation in Chair and Deputy Chair positions on government boards by 2025 (National Platform 2018)
The Greens NSW The Greens NSW [Greens NSW] In all the activities and appointments of The Greens NSW, attempts shall be made to ensure that there is at least 50 percent representation by women and by members from outside metropolitan Sydney and representation by minority and disadvantaged groups (Article 1(4) of the Greens NSW Constitution, 2018)
Progressive Labour Party Progressive Labour Party [PLP] 'The PLP is committed to ensuring equal representation of women throughout its structure and organisation. In all proceedings and at all meetings, all members will observe and promote Party structures, practices and policies that ensure equity in gender representation and participation. In applying the principle of clause 7.1, the following will, among other processes, be considered: - a women's caucus will have the right to convene at each Branch, at State/ Territory Council and at National Conference; - Standing orders and chairing will facilitate equal participation of women and men. - With the exception of clause 7.6.4, in the event that the election to any party committees or councils produces more males than females, the election will stand, but further female nominations will be called for and a second ballot will be held for the specific purpose of equalising the numerical representation of women on that body. The women so elected in this second ballot will be in addition to the other elected officers of the committee and will enjoy the same duties and rights as the other members. (Article 7 (1) of the PLP Constitution, 2017)

* 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).

 

Additional reading

  • 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.

Additional reading

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