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?...
Last updated: Aug 16, 2022
|Quota Type||No legislated>|
|Election details||IPU Parline|
|Quota type: No legislated||Constitution|
|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.
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).
- 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
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- 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.
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Australiaand Canada, Toronto: UBC Press.
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Women’s Citizenship’, in S.M. Rai (ed.) International Perspectives on Gender and Democratisation, New York: St. Martin’s Press, pp. 182–201.
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- 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.
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Party System’, in J. Lovenduski and P. Norris (eds) Gender and Party Politics, Thousand Oaks: Sage, pp. 16-34.