Michaelia Cash, Fiona Nash, Arthur Sinodinos and Jamie Briggs are in, apparently; Andrew Laming, Teresa Gambaro, Don Randall, Ian Macdonald and Andrew Southcott are out — stay tuned for the official announcement of Tony Abbott’s new ministry this afternoon (more on Crikey later).
What is clear is while some more female caucus members will be elevated to the outer ministry, Foreign Minister-elect Julie Bishop will be the only woman in cabinet.
Coalition types say the team is picked on merit — as it should be. As Bishop said yesterday:
“… we do have many talented women in the Liberal Party, in the Coalition. And we have certainly seen a number of outstanding women come in as new candidates and now new members.”
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But none, apparently, are worthy of a seat at the government’s decision-making table.
Of the 92 Coalition lower-house seats projected, and if former opposition cabinet member Sophie Mirabella does lose Indi, just 17 lower-house women will sit in the government’s party room — that’s 18% of House of Reps MPs. Some female senators will add to their ranks, but caucus will be dominated by men.
Abbott didn’t have much to choose from. But that’s pretty damning in itself.