Sarah Henderson’s preselection win in Victoria over the weekend will split the number of female and male Senators evenly at 38 each for the first time in history.
“Achieving equal numbers of men and women in the Australian Senate is a certainly a major milestone,” Henderson told the ABC. “I am honoured that my appointment as a Liberal Senator for Victoria will also make history in this way.”
In a Tweet on Monday, Henderson thanked Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Deputy Leader Josh Frydenberg for their support, promising to ‘hit the ground running’ and be ‘a strong Liberal voice for all of Victoria.’
As I have committed, I will be establishing my principal Senate office in Geelong.
I look forward to hitting the ground running and being a strong Liberal voice for all of Victoria.
I thank Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Deputy Leader Josh Frydenberg for all their support.
— Sarah Henderson (@SarahMHendo) September 9, 2019
While this achievement is certainly worth celebrating, it’s important to note the figures don’t broaden across coalition ranks. After the last federal election, women made up roughly 23% of the Liberal Party. In the Labor Party – a more healthy figure stood at 47% of women.
Henderson’s anticipated arrival will boost the percentage of the government’s female Senators to almost 43%, while female Labor Senators occupy 61% of Upper House seats.
The party’s Senate leader Penny Wong told the ABC, “You cannot be what you don’t see, which makes it all the more important that young girls see more women in Parliament and in varying roles across the community.”
“Striving towards a society where — regardless of race, sexuality, religion, ethnicity or gender — all people are judged on their abilities alone is a principle held dear by the Labor Party.”
A welcome milestone. And 118 years on – not beyond time. https://t.co/MiNKaLdVIL
— Senator Penny Wong (@SenatorWong) September 9, 2019