The announcement that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will have five women in his new Federal Cabinet, and several in influential portfolios, is welcome news according to Diversity Council Australia (DCA).
Lisa Annese, DCA’s CEO said the appointments were a move in the right direction.
“There has never been any doubt that there are talented women who can take on senior roles in the Federal Government. It is good news that the serious underrepresentation of women in Cabinet is being addressed.
“The selection of Senator the Hon Marise Payne as the first female Minister for Defence and her appointment to the National Security Committee is an exciting move in what has been a traditionally male dominated portfolio.
“I am thankful that the position of Minister for Women is again being held by a woman in Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash. In addition, she also will hold the important Employment portfolio.
“The Hon Kelly O’Dwyer MP will be appointed as Minister for Small Business and, as Assistant Treasurer, is the first woman in the Treasury portfolio and she will be on the influential Expenditure Review Committee.
“Despite these positive moves, only five Cabinet members (a quarter) will be women and this is still too low.
“In terms of other diversity areas, it is great news that Mr Ken Wyatt AM MP will become Australia's first Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Federal Government frontbencher, taking up the role of Assistant Health Minister.
“However, I am disappointed there will not be a disability portfolio given that over four million or one in five Australians are affected by some form of disability and the NDIS is currently being rolled out.
“There is still considerable work to be done to improve employment opportunities in Australia for a range of diversity groups. In this regard, we will be watching to see what, if any, changes flow in policy terms from the new administration,” concluded Lisa.