Women have been the story of the 2022 election. Female voters and community candidates rose up, ultimately throwing the Morrison government out of power.
Women running as independents shot to impressive victories in Melbourne, Sydney and Perth, while the Greens took hold in Brisbane, and Labor dominated in Western Australia, with women candidates winning most of the seats lost by the previous Morrison government.
Well-experienced and community-connected female candidates were backed by voters who ultimately decided to shake up the landscape of Australian politics, potentially for good. With so many new independents elected, and the success of the Greens, the crossbench in the House of Representatives is the largest it’s ever been.
At this stage it looks like Labor could form a majority government, so far having won 72 seats, with 76 seats needed for a majority. Twelve seats are still in doubt, but Labor is ahead in five of those as votes continue to be counted.
On current count, 20 women will be joining the lower house for the first time. Seven of them will sit on the crossbench as independents. One will sit with The Greens. Two are Liberals, and the remaining ten are Labor.
Here’s a rundown of the women who are confirmed to be entering the House of Representatives for the first time.
Dai Le, Independent
Independent Dai Le won the seat of Fowler in South-Western Sydney, defeating high-profile Labor candidate Kristina Keneally in the usually safe Labor seat. Le replaces outgoing Labor member Chris Hayes, who retired at this election, and is the only incoming independent to have won a seat from Labor.
Voters in Fowler clearly rejected the parachuting of Kristina Keneally, who is not from the area and does not have roots in South-West Sydney, and backed Le because of her connection to the local area.
Dai Le is a prominent member of the local Vietnamese community in Fowler and is the Deputy Mayor of Fairfield. She came to Australia as a refugee as a child and is the first Vietnamese-Australian with a refugee background to enter the federal parliament.
Zoe Daniel, Independent
Independent Zoe Daniel won Goldstein in Melbourne, taking the safe Liberal seat from two term incumbent Tim Wilson.
A former journalist and foreign correspondent, Daniel paid tribute to Vida Goldstein (who the seat is named after), a trail-blazing Australian suffragist and several-time independent candidate.
“100 or so years ago, there was a woman called Vida Goldstein, she was an internationally renowned suffragist, she was the first Australian in the Oval Office, she ran as an independent several times because she was so independent, that she couldn’t bring herself to run for either of the major parties. Vida was not elected. This seat is in her name, and today, I take her rightful place,” Daniel said in her victory speech on Saturday night.
Daniel is considered one of the “teal” independents focused on climate action, integrity in politics and gender equity.
Dr Monique Ryan, Independent
In one of the most talked about victories of the election, Dr Monique Ryan won the seat of Kooyong from the Australian treasurer, Josh Frydenberg. There was a massive shift in the once safe Liberal seat, with voters getting behind the paediatric neurologist who is committed to issues like climate action, integrity in politics and gender equity.
Ryan worked as the head of neurology at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne.
You can read Women’s Agenda’s profile of Dr Monique Ryan here.
Dr Sophie Scamps, Independent
Dr Sophie Scamps won the Northern Beaches seat of Mackellar from Liberal Jason Falinski on Saturday, overcoming a significant margin of 13.3 per cent to claim victory. Voters have backed Scamps to hold the seat which has been won by the Liberal Party consistently for 73 years and has always been considered Liberal heartland.
Scamps is a former emergency doctor and local GP, the founder of non-profit environment organisation Our Blue Dot, and founding member of Voices of Mackellar.
Like the other independents to take seats from the Liberal Party, Scamps is focused on climate action, integrity in politics and gender equality. She also campaigned on mental health and transparent economic management.
Dr Sophie Scamps spoke to Women’s Agenda before the election, you can read what she had to say here.
Kylea Tink, Independent
Independent Kylea Tink won the seat of North Sydney from Trent Zimmerman, ahead on the two-party preferred count at 53.1 per cent.
Tink, the former CEO of the McGrath Foundation, campaigned on climate action, transparency and integrity in government and gender equity. She is also a strong supporter of the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
In the weeks before the election, Tink told Women’s Agenda she would love to re-engage Australians in the democratic process and help voters realise that change is always possible.
You can read Women’s Agenda’s profile of Kylea Tink here.
Allegra Spender, Independent
Independent Allegra Spender won the seat of Wentworth in Sydney’s East from Liberal Dave Sharma, holding a two-party preferred vote of 56.1 per cent.
Spender, another of the high-profile “teal” independents, campaigned on the issues of climate action, integrity in politics, tax reform, and gender equity. She was the chair of the Sydney Renewable Power Company, an advisor to the UK Treasury, a management consultant, and Managing Director at Carla Zampatti, her family’s fashion label.
“It’s a victory for the community movement around the country. We stand for the future, not for the past. You’ve given up shouting at the television, the negativity and the spin. You’ve all invested in the democracy of the country,” Spender said on election night.
Kate Chaney, Independent
In Perth, Kate Chaney won the safe Liberal seat of Curtin from incumbent Celia Hammond, with a two-party preferred vote of 52 per cent. The seat has long been considered Liberal heartland, and was once held by former Liberal Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.
Throughout her campaign, Chaney called for more government transparency, respect for women, and greater climate action.
“I think we are seeing a shift in Australian politics and as the Liberal party has moved to the conservative right and the Labor party has retreated to small ideas it’s left this gap in the middle,” Chaney told reporters on Saturday night.
Chaney has a professional background in business consultancy, having worked in a range of roles at Westralia Airports Corporation, Wesfarmers, Boston Consulting Group, and Anglicare WA.
Elizabeth Watson-Brown, Greens
Elizabeth Watson-Brown ousted Liberal Julian Simmonds in Ryan in Queensland, and will be one of the new Greens members set to enter the house of representatives, joining leader Adam Bandt on the crossbench. Her win marks the first time the Greens have ever won a seat from the Liberal party.
Until now, Ryan has been won by the Coalition at every general election since 1972.
Watson-Brown ran a strong, community based campaign in Ryan, pushing for greater action on climate change, and a host of local issues. She has a professional background as an architect, having run her own firm for two decades. She is also an adjunct professor at the University of Queensland.
Sally Sitou, Labor
Labor’s Sally Sitou has won the seat of Reid in Sydney from Liberal Fiona Martin with 55.4 per cent of the two-party preferred vote.
Sitou is of Laotian heritage, and her parents fled Laos as a result of the Vietnam war. She is doctoral researcher at the University of Sydney Business School focusing on the finance industry and has also worked in the international education and international development sectors.
“This moment is surreal in the best way possible, that one could dare to dream, a dream this big,” Sitou said on election night.
Carina Garland, Labor
Labor’s Carina Garland has won the seat of Chisholm from Liberal Gladys Liu, with 57.6 per cent of the two-party preferred vote. Chisholm was considered Victoria’s most marginal seat when Gladys Liu won it in 2019.
Garland is an academic and former assistant secretary at the Victorian Trades Hall Council.
Dr Michelle Ananda-Rajah, Labor
Labor’s Michelle Ananda-Rajah won the seat of Higgins from Liberal Dr Katie Allen, on a two-party preferred vote of 53 per cent. The seat in Melbourne has been held by the Liberal Party since its creation in 1949, with Dr Ananda-Rajah becoming the first person from Labor to win it.
Dr Ananda-Rajah is an infectious disease doctor who shot to prominence in the media during the COVID-19 pandemic
Cassandra Fernando, Labor
Labor’s Cassandra Fernando has succeeded retiring Labor MP Anthony Byrne in the seat of Holt in Victoria. She won with a two-party preferred vote of 57.5 per cent. She becomes the first Sri Lankan-born person to enter the federal parliament in Australia’s history. She came to Australia when she was 11, and she has lived in Melbourne’s South-East since.
Fernando is a pastry chef, and advocate for essential workers, particularly those in the hospitality, retail and fast food industries. She will join the parliament as a member of the Albanese-led Labor government.
Marion Scrymgour, Labor
ABC election analyst Antony Green has projected that Labor’s Marion Scrymgour will win the seat of Lingiari in the Northern Territory, in what has been a very tight race with the Country Liberal Party.
Scrymgour will succeed retiring Labor veteran MP Warren Snowden, who held the seat of Lingiari (covering most of the Northern Territory outback including areas like Alice Springs and Katherine) for two decades. Snowden was a popular MP, who received support from many remote communities.
Scrymgour will enter federal parliament with a background in territory politics, having previously been the first Aboriginal woman to be elected to the Northern Territory parliament, where she eventually rose to become Deputy Chief Minister of the Northern Territory. During this time, she was highest ranked Indigenous woman in any Australian government.
Louise Miller-Frost, Labor
Labor’s Louise Miller-Frost has won the seat of Boothby in Adelaide, becoming the first Labor candidate to win the seat since 1946. Miller-Frost succeeds retiring Liberal Nicolle Flint, who won the marginal seat in 2019.
Miller-Frost has a background as a CEO, including over 15 years running health services in South Australia.
Alison Byrnes, Labor
Alison Byrnes has won the seat of Cunningham in the Wollongong area, succeeding former Labor MP Sharon Bird.
Byrnes retained the safe seat for Labor comfortably (despite a small swing against her). She was previously a staffer in Sharon Bird’s office.
Tracey Roberts, Labor
In Western Australia, Labor’s Tracey Roberts has won the seat of Pearce, with a convincing two-party preferred vote of 59.7 per cent over Liberal candidate, Linda Aitken. Pearce was previously held by Liberal, Christian Porter who has left politics.
Roberts is the City of Wanneroo Mayor, and a high-profile figure in the local community. In 2020, she was appointed by the Western Australian government to the State Recovery Advisory Group to drive the economic recovery from COVID-19.
Zaneta Mascarenhas, Labor
Still in Western Australia, Labor’s Zaneta Mascarenhas won the seat of Swan over Liberal Kristy McSweeney with a massive 12 per cent swing towards her. Mascarenhas’ big win is a part of trend that has seen the Liberal party lose its grip on many seats in the seat.
Mascarenhas has a professional background in engineering, working with mining companies to help them develop policies and practices to address climate change. She is an advocate for making sure industries and workers have a just and equitable transition to a low carbon economy.
Tania Lawrence, Labor
Labor’s Tania Lawrence has successfully ousted Liberal Indigenous Affairs Minister Ken Wyatt, in the Western Australian seat of Hasluck. She won 55.6 per cent of the two-party preferred vote.
Lawrence’s win was a big upset, as Ken Wyatt was one of the most senior members of the Liberal party. Lawrence is a small business owner, and has held senior positions in both the private sector and government in areas like policy development, governance and regulation and business development.
Zoe McKenzie, Liberal
Liberal Zoe McKenzie has won the seat of Flinders in Victoria, succeeding outgoing Liberal health minister Greg Hunt, who has retired from politics.
McKenzie won with 55.5 per cent of the primary vote, comfortably ahead of Labor’s Surbhi Snowball. In her victory speech, McKenzie thanked Greg Hunt for his support, calling him one of her mentors.
McKenzie is the first woman to hold the seat of Flinders, which covers the Mornington Peninsula.
Jenny Ware, Liberal
Liberal Jenny Ware has won the seat of Hughes, with nearly 57 per cent of the two-party preferred vote. Ware succeeds previous Hughes member Craig Kelly.
Ware faced a challenge from Labor’s Riley Campbell, as well as independent Georgia Steele, but ended up winning the seat comfortably.
Ware has a professional background as a senior legal executive in the private sector and has also run her own small business.