Preselecting women would be a great start in addressing the women’s vote this coming election.
But what we know from our Women Elect platform, tracking female candidates across the 151 seats in the lower house up for grabs this weekend, politics is still a male dominated affair for the major parties.
Just 27 per cent of the Coalition candidates up for election in the lower house are female, with women making up 41 of the 151 candidates running.
*** Who are the women running in your electorate? Check out Women Elect, our female candidate tracker ***
Labor is doing much better. But still not cracking the 50 per cent mark, with 65 of its 151 candidates female, at 43 per cent.
Where we do see a strong number of female candidates is from those running as independents.
When it comes to the independents backed by Climate 200, a massive 19 of the 22 candidates considered to be under the Teal banner — and a number of them have a very good chance of winning what were previously considered safe Liberal seats.
Indeed, this election could see women elected who dramatically change the course of political history in Australia.
Below, we’ve pulled out a number of the key seats to watch this weekend where women could make history. You can read more about the female candidates running in these seats, as well as across all 151 seats, at Women Elect, our female candidate tracker.
Dr Monique Ryan (pictured above) is running as an independent and stands a chance of winning the seat of Kooyong, which would see her bringing down Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and making history in the process. Kooyong has always been consiered a safe Liberal seat, but the progressive population has become increasingly frustrated with the Morrison Government, especially on policy areas like climate change.
Mackellar takes in the northern end of Sydney’s Northern Beaches, bordering the seat of Warringah, which independent Zali Steggall was able to take from former prime mininster Tony Abbott at the 2019 election (and is expected to continue to hold following this election). With a 13.2 per cent margin, Mackellar is considered to be a safe Liberal seat. But there is heavy community support for Dr Sophie Scamps who, like Steggall, is running as an independent and hopes to unseat current sitting Liberal member, Jason Falinski.
In Melbourne’s south-east, Goldstein is an exciting race between current Liberal MP Tim Wilson and independent challenger Zoe Daniel. A former ABC journalist, Daniel has run a high-profile campaign with a strong swell of community support. It’s one of the hottest contests this election, with many small-l traditional liberal voters in the usually safe seat frustrated with the Morrison government, especially on issues like climate and integrity. Recent polling has shown Daniel ahead of Wilson on a two-party preferred basis.
Prime Minisster Scott Morrison has visited the seat of Gilmore multiple times during the campaign. Why? Because he knows the marginal seat is significant for either party in fining a path to victory. Located on the South Coast of NSW, Gilmore is held by Fiona Phillips for the Labor Party, who is vying to hold the seat against the Liberal candidate, Andrew Constance. Phillips won the seat in 2019 with a margin of just 2.6 per cent.
The seat of Wentworth in Sydney’s East has a real chance of also being held by an independent, with high profile businesswoman Allegra Spender taking on Dave Sharma, who wrestled back the seat from independent Dr Kerryn Phelps at the last election. Polling this week indicated Spender could be on track to take the seat. Spender is backed by Climate 200, and is pushing climate change and integrity — she’s received strong media coverage and is considered well-known in the seat.
There will be much to watch in the seat of North Sydney this weekend, another metropolitan seat that has previously been considered Liberal safe. Both independent candidate Kylea Tink, as well as Labor candidate Catherine Renshaw, have been receiving strong support in their individual quests to take the seat from Liberal Trent Zimmerman. Climate 200 polling has shown Zimmerman currently has 33.3 per cent of the first preference vote, but that Tink and Renshaw are both polling strongly, at 23.5 and 17.8 per cent respectively. The final result could hinge on preferences.
Gladys Liu holds the very marginal seat of Chisholm in eastern Melbourne, having won it in 2019 with a margin of just 0.5%. She is facing a strong challenge from Labor candidate Dr Carina Garland. It’s one of the key seats Labor must try to win in order to have a path to victory.
Covering the southern suburbs of Adelaide, Boothby is a seat to watch, with current Liberal MP Nicolle Flint retiring from politics. The Liberals hold it with a tiny margin of 1.4% and Labor is hoping to pick it up. Rachel Swift is the Liberal candidate and is facing a challenge from Labor’s Louise Miller-Frost, as well as an independent, Jo Dyer.
Taking in much of central Perth, Swan is set to be a tight contest between Liberal candidate Kristy McSweeney and Labor’s Zaneta Mascarenhas. Steve Irons, the current Liberal MP is retiring having held the seat on a margin of 3.2%. Recent polling has shown Labor slightly ahead in Swan, but nevertheless McSweeney is running a competitive campaign in the seat which has been marginal for decades.