On Monday the Women’s Electoral Lobby released a Federal Election Scorecard ranking the three major political parties on their commitment to women against 12 key policy areas.
Labor earned 11 ticks, the Greens 10 and the Coalition, just one. But the Minister for Women, Kelly O’Dwyer, who is set to retire from politics after Saturday, disputes the impartiality of the results.
“The Women’s Electoral Lobby has not just ignored the records achieved for Australian women by the Coalition, but ignored Coalition policies and election commitments that overwhelmingly will leave Australian women better off,” O’Dwyer told Women’s Agenda. “In compiling their list in such a way, the Women’s Electoral Lobby has demonstrated it is just a partisan lobby for the Labor Party.”
O’Dwyer identified a number of key achievements, several of which she is particularly proud of, that weren’t mentioned in WEL’s scorecard.
“There are more women in work than ever before, women’s workforce participation reached a record high of 60.7 per cent and the Gender Pay Gap fell to a record low of 14.2 per cent,” O’Dwyer said.
She also pointed to the $328 million in federal funding for prevention and frontline services to support the Fourth Action Plan of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children and the ‘first ever’ Women’s Economic Security Statement to ‘help give women greater life choices, build financial security and grow the Australian economy’.
The percentage of women on Australian Government boards is currently sitting at 47.3 per cent, the highest overall result since public reporting began, a guaranteed minimum entitlement of five days unpaid family and domestic violence leave for all Australians covered by the Fair Work Act and a national inquiry into workplace sexual harassment, are among other positive advancements for women.
“These achievements build on the Coalition’s strong record of delivering for Australian women since coming to Government in 2013 including through a once in generation $2.5 billion investment in childcare, the award-winning Stop it at the Start family violence campaign, increased Federal funding for public hospital services, delivering tax relief for small and medium business, and establishing the eSafety Commissioner, to name just a few,” she said.
Other achievements O’Dwyer wants considered include:
- More support for families through the Child Care Subsidy
- A targeted investment of $20.9 million over five years to improve the health of new families, particularly pregnant women and children
- An extra $27 million to build on the $20.5 million already invested by the Government in the McGrath Breast Care Nurse Initiative, to ensure training of 98 breast care nurses by 2022–23
- A $4.5 million package included in the 2018-19 Budget encourages more girls and women to study and undertake STEM careers
- Measures such as the Government’s Protecting Your Super package which will help to protect the low and inactive superannuation accounts of over one million women
- The release of the Coalition’s Plan to Support Australian Women.
“It’s about informing people. I believe people need more information and the WEL scorecard is not independent,” O’Dwyer said.