The Coalition recognises the fundamental importance of supporting Australian women to realise their full potential. We will consider the Women’s Economic Equality Taskforce report thoroughly, reflecting the respect we have for the work that has been conducted. Many capable Australian women have contributed in good faith to the work of this Taskforce and the Coalition thanks them for their efforts.
Today, even though Australia has taken great strides toward gender equality, we still have much work to do. We know if we get government working for women, Australia will move forward. The Coalition is committed to ensuring the today’s Australian girls will have the same opportunities that Australian boys do in the decades to come. To achieve this, changes need to be made.
We are committed to helping empower women to make choices about how they want to live their lives, whether that is through a career, starting and growing a family or indeed pursuing and balancing both aspirations. Delivering on that commitment will require new approaches and fresh perspectives and we are committed to bringing new ideas to the table in the interest of all Australians.
While we thank those who have contributed to the report, the Albanese Government is not without fault in its handling of the Taskforce. The Opposition has uncovered that:
- There was no open application process for the Women’s Economic Equality Taskforce.
- The Department suggested 52 names on merit and this list was whittled down to 13 names by Minister Gallagher with no apparent process.
- Minister Gallagher admitted that ‘a number’ of the final 13 were not suggested by the Department at all – but then refused to say how many.
- Minister Katy Gallagher handpicked the Chair, Sam Mostyn, who is a former Labor staffer.
‘Jobs for mates’ does not end with ‘jobs for the boys’. Overlooking capable and qualified women because they aren’t affiliated with Labor is just as unacceptable and sadly the ‘jobs for mates’ culture is entrenched in the Albanese Government’s appointment processes.
In recent days it has been revealed that Trade Minister Don Farrell handpicked an unqualified male former Labor Senator over an experienced senior woman for a key overseas appointment. Labor also appointed Glenn Thompson, Assistant National Secretary of the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union, to the board of the National Reconstruction Fund. It would have been better to see this role taken up by one of the thousands of qualified women from across corporate Australia.
While Labor has been compiling this report, Australian women have been falling further and further behind.
According to Foodbank Australia, 48 per cent of the general population is anxious or worried about getting consistent access to adequate food, meaning millions of mothers are worried about feeding their children.
The Liptember Foundation found in its 2023 Women’s Mental Health Research that 35 per cent of respondents listed financial stress and cost of living as a trigger for depression, while 36 per cent said it triggered anxiety.
Last week the National Centre for Vocational Education Research confirmed Labor have presided over a 42.9 per cent decline in commencements for female trainees and apprentices in just their first year of government.
While this report sheds new light on the challenges of realising a better future for Australian women, Labor’s spiralling cost of living crisis is hurting women today.
Because the reality is Anthony Albanese is leaving Australian women behind.