'An equality agenda': Labor achieves 50 percent female cabinet in Victoria

‘An equality agenda’: Daniel Andrews announces 50 percent female cabinet

Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews has confirmed his commitment to an “equality agenda” starting with the appointment of three new women and an historic 50 percent female cabinet.

New addition Jaclyn Symes will join Dandenong MP Gabrielle Williams and Williamstown MP Melissa Horne along with a new male appointment, Adem Somyurek to provide the “fresh legs” that cabinet requires, according to Andrews who announced the restructure yesterday.

“Today my colleagues have delivered something that has never been achieved in the history of our state – 50 per cent of cabinet are women. There is an equality agenda in our state’s most important decision-making body.”

It’s a decisive and encouraging move from Labor which just secured another 4-years in government following a landslide result in last Saturday’s state election.

Such a decision also draws attention to the contrast between Andrews’ Cabinet and the current Liberal make-up whose number includes just three female MPs out of 18 confirmed in the new Parliament.

The so-called ‘equality agenda’ is one that’s aided the Labor government in Victoria and bolstered electoral support. Andrews’ emphatic stand against issues like gender-based violence, the gender pay gap and women’s social inequality more broadly, have led him to be recognised for these values.

Last month, former Minister for Women Natalie Hutchins announced considerable funding for online support program, Grace Papers which helps parents and employers to better navigate pregnancy, parental leave and return to work.

“Putting a dollar figure on unpaid domestic and care work means we can actually value it. When we value unpaid work, it’s more likely we’ll share it,” said Hutchins.

“If we share unpaid work, we’re that much closer to a Victoria where everyone is safe and equal. Until we have gender balance with unpaid work we won’t close the pay gap between men and women.”

Natalie Hutchins and John Eren announced they would be leaving Cabinet ahead of Tuesday’s announcement, while Small Business Minister Philip Dalidakis was also pushed out to make way for new recruits. Andrews paid tribute to Dalidakis, rejecting the assertion he’d done anything wrong.

“If we’re going to have more men in the Cabinet, an equal number of women in the Cabinet to men, then logic tells you that a number of men could not be returned to those positions,” he said.

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