BENDIGO'S new federal member Lisa Chesters says the Coalition's ministry is “out of touch” and will fail to reflect the views of the broader community with only one female member.
Deputy leader Julie Bishop was the only woman to be given a portfolio in Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s cabinet announcement yesterday.
Ms Chesters said it was a disappointing result.
She said there were a number of capable and talented women in the Coalition that have been overlooked.
“I would expect any Prime Minister of this country to be promoting men and women that have the skills and expertise,” she said.
“Within the coalition ranks, the Prime Minister obviously doesn’t believe he has enough women to promote to his cabinet and front bench. That’s a cop out.”
Bendigo mayor Lisa Ruffell said she was also hoping to see more female representation.
But she said she believed it was a decision based on merit, rather than gender.
“I would like to see more women involved,” she said.
“I think it’s a good message that they’re saying it’s not about gender.”
Women's Health Loddon Mallee executive officer Linda Beilharz said the newly selected ministry lacked diversity.
She said it would be difficult to represent the views of the community with only one female in cabinet discussions. “I guess they can’t represent everybody anyway,” she said.
“But woman are half the population so it is a pretty big gap to have. If you’re trying to make good policy you need to have diversity there.
“It’s definitely a step backwards, as to representation and also attention to policies.”
Mr Abbott said yesterday he was disappointed that there were not more women in his cabinet but said there were some "very good and talented women knocking on the door".
Liberal Senator Sue Boyce described the lack of senior female representatives as a systemic problem for the party.