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Females losing battle of the sexes

While Queensland currently has a female premier in Anna Bligh, there is a great need for more women to offer themselves in politics.
While Queensland currently has a female premier in Anna Bligh, there is a great need for more women to offer themselves in politics. Dave Noonan

POLITICS in Australia has long been known as a boys' club and looking at the known candidates for the Rockhampton region for the March 24 election, it would seem nothing has changed.

Delve a little deeper, and while female politicians have risen to top jobs across the country - the first popularly elected Queensland premier, Anna Bligh and prime minister, Julia Gillard - there is still a long way to go to get a balance of the sexes in the houses of parliament.

This state election will see Queensland lose at least four female politicians who are retiring, including Lindy Nelson-Carr (Townsville), Desley Boyle (Cairns), Dolly Pratt (Nanango) and Judy Spence (Brisbane).

While there are no female candidates to date for any of the three Rockhampton region seats - Rockhampton, Keppel or Mirani, there have been female candidates in the past. Mary Carroll, Judy Canales and Valle Checa stood against Paul Hoolihan for the seat of Keppel in 2006.

However, the seat of Rockhampton has not been contested by any female candidates since 2004 and the seat has never been held by a female.

Ms Bligh told the Morning Bulletin, the Queensland Parliament should be broadly representative of the state's people with women making up just over 50% of the population.

"Our parliamentarians should be a mixture of ages, gender and background," she said.

"I am proud that Labor has such strong female representation, both in the parliament and as candidates," Ms Bligh said.

Candidates don't need to be a member of a political party to be successful with Gladstone's Liz Cunningham an example of an independent gaining and retaining power in a Labor-strong community since 1995.

Topics:  anna bligh liz cunningham politics



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