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4125.0 - Gender Indicators, Australia, Jan 2012  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 07/02/2012   
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PARLIAMENTARIANS


KEY SERIES

FEDERAL PARLIAMENTARIANS (a)

2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012

Males (no.)
165
166
167
162
162
159
159
158
162
160
Females (no.)
61
60
59
64
64
67
67
68
64
66

Males (%)
73.0
73.5
73.9
71.7
71.7
70.4
70.4
69.9
71.7
70.8
Females (%)
27.0
26.5
26.1
28.3
28.3
29.6
29.6
30.1
28.3
29.2

(a) Reference period is as at 1 January in each year.

Source: Commonwealth Parliamentary Library, Unpublished data, Australia.




RELATED SERIES


FEDERAL GOVERNMENT MINISTERS (a)

2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012

Males (no.)
26
25
24
24
25
23
23
23
24
23
Females (no.)
4
5
6
6
5
7
7
7
6
7

Males (%)
86.7
83.3
80.0
80.0
83.3
76.7
76.7
76.7
80.0
76.7
Females (%)
13.3
16.7
20.0
20.0
16.7
23.3
23.3
23.3
20.0
23.3

(a) Reference period is as at 1 January in each year.

Source: Commonwealth Parliamentary Library, Unpublished data, Australia.




FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CABINET MINISTERS (a)(b)

2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012

Males (no.)
15
14
14
14
14
16
16
16
16
17
Females (no.)
2
3
3
3
3
4
4
4
4
5

Males (%)
88.2
82.4
82.4
82.4
82.4
80.0
80.0
80.0
80.0
77.3
Females (%)
11.8
17.6
17.6
17.6
17.6
20.0
20.0
20.0
20.0
22.7

(a) Reference period is as at 1 January in each year.
(b) Federal government cabinet ministers represent a council of senior ministers.

Source: Commonwealth Parliamentary Library, Unpublished data, Australia.



COMMENTARY
PARLIAMENTARIANS


On 1 January 2012, 29% (66) of 226 federal parliamentarians were women. The proportion of federal parliamentarians who were women has risen by two percentage points since 2003, when there were 61 female federal parliamentarians out of a total 226 seats. In the federal government ministry, as at 1 January 2012, there were seven female ministers, including the Prime Minister, compared to 23 male ministers.

National life is influenced not just by tangible qualities such as economic output, health and education, but also by many intangible qualities such as the quality of our public life, the fairness of our society, the health of our democracy and the extent to which citizens of Australia participate actively in their communities or cooperate with one another. (Endnote 1)

One of the principles underpinning democratic government is that parliament should represent and express the will of the people. Civil society is seen by many to be more effective if parliament is widely representative of the population. Since both males and females make up approximately equal proportions of Australia's population, representation of both genders in parliament is seen as crucial in a democratic society. (Endnote 2)

On 1 January 2012, the proportion of members of the House of Representatives who were women was 25% (37 out of 150). This proportion is the same as in 2003. The proportion of senators who were women increased from 30% in 2003 to 38% in 2012 (up from 23 to 29 of the 76 senators). The proportion of parliamentarians in state governments who were women was 31% (182 out of 598) in 2012, slightly higher than the proportion of federal parliamentarians. The proportion of state parliamentarians who were women has increased by two percentage points since 2003 (up from 28% or 169 of the total of 598).




Federal and state government ministers

Gender equality in decision making positions is crucial in a democratic society. In the federal government ministry, as at 1 January 2012, there were seven female, compared to 23 male, federal government ministers. The number of federal government ministers who were female has increased from four in 2003. Of the six female federal government ministers in 2012, five were Cabinet ministers, compared to 17 male cabinet ministers. In 2003, only two of the 17 federal Cabinet ministers were woman.

As at 1 January 2012, 27% (32) of all the state/territory government ministers (119) were female compared to 25% (27 out of 109) in 2003.



ENDNOTES

1. Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2004, Year Book Australia, 2004, (cat. no. 1301.0) <www.abs.gov.au>.
2. Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2010, Year Book Australia, 2009-10, (cat. no. 1301.0) <www.abs.gov.au>.


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