women in turnbull's cabinet

(photo sourced by news.com.au)

A key criticism of Tony Abbott’s government was a lack of women in senior ranks, and it seems that this is an issue new prime minister Malcolm Turnbull is keen to address. A recent reshuffling has lead to the announcement of five women within Turnbull’s first cabinet. One of these, Marise Payne has become Australia’s first female Defence Minister.

In her first media conference as Defence Minister, Marise Payne asked the public not to let her gender define her within this new role.

“All that I ask is that I am judged on my performance, not on my gender” she said at the beginning of the conference.

She then went on to highlight the benefits of a women being appointed to the job.

“If as female Defence Minister and Australia’s first female Defence Minister, I can encourage, or my appointment encourages one extra young woman in this nation to consider a career in Defence, to consider a career in politics, or encourages one woman currently serving in the ADF or part of the Defence public service in what they are doing, I think that is an absolutely fabulous thing.”

Turnbull also assured the public that Marise Payne was elected based on merit and not just to fill a quota. Previously there has been a non-binding government policy, which was introduced in 2010 and set a target of 40 per cent men, 40 per cent women and 20 per cent of either for all government boards.

“She is one of our most experienced and capable senators,” Mr Turnbull said. “She has spent two years in the human services portfolio and has done an outstanding job in modernising government service delivery.”

Marise Payne’s appointment to Australian Defence Minister means that along with Ms Bishop, two women now sit on cabinet’s powerful national security.

Both women are joined by Minister for Health Sussan Ley, Minister for Small Business Kelly O’Dwyer and Minister for Women Michaelia Cash  in order to make up the five women sworn into cabinet.

While this is a significant improvement from his predecessor’s cabinet and no doubt a tactical move by Turnbull, the female representatives are still vastly outnumbered by their male colleagues; there are currently 17 males compared to the 5 women in cabinet.

However, it cannot be denied that five women in cabinet is a vast improvement from two, as was the case during Abbott’s term. asking alexandria As Marise Payne said herself, perhaps her appointment to the position of Australia’s Defence Minister will encourage other young women to pursue a career in politics and pave the way for more female members of cabinet in the future. We certainly hope so.

To view Marise Payne’s acceptance speech click the link below: