Some fruit loop Liberal MP in Australia wants her party to lurch to the left by (gasp) doing something to get more women into Parliament. Doesn't she know that parties on the right don't do that sort of thing?
Remember back in July last year, when Labour proposed considering at its national conference adopting candidate selection rules aimed at ensuring equal gender representation? And remember the response of at least one commentator to even the idea that a political party might think of doing this?
Labour continues lurching to the left, and stealing policies of the Greens. This time they are stealing the Greens policy for gender quotas for candidate selection, but they have gone even further than the “fruit loops” and are proposing a “man ban”, where an electorate can apply to have a women only selection!
Of course, once it was pointed out that David Cameron wanted the Conservative Party to do the same thing, this criticism suddenly mellowed to it just not being necessary in New Zealand because we have MMP and the UK doesn't (or something). Oh, and it'll make drawing up the Labour Party list hard. Because please don't look at how many women there are in the National Party caucus. Please!!
For if anyone were to do so, they'd see that National only has 15 women in its 59 strong caucus - just over a quarter of the total. That's actually a little less equal than back in 2005, when it had 13 women out of 48 total MPs, or 27% of its caucus. But, amazingly, it's still doing better than other political parties of the right in countries similar to ours.
The United Kingdom's Conservative Party has a mere 48 women in its 304 MPs, or 15.8% of the total. Canada's governing Conservative Party has just 29 women in its 164 MPs, or 17.1% pf the total. In the Australian Liberal-National Party Coalition's 123-member joint party room there are only 26 women, or 21% of the total.
So it seems that the primary problem with getting a proportionate number of women as elected representatives isn't "politics" in general. It instead is that political parties on the right of the spectrum systemically refuse to have women in positions where they can get elected. This appears to be a basic flaw in their makeup that exists across different times, and across different countries.
Which is why we see across the Tasman the long serving Liberal Party MP (and former junior minister under John Howard) Dr Sharman Stone now calling for her party to look to the Labor Party - which has a quota for female MPs - for ideas about how to get more women elected.
What's that you say? She's just calling for a few "tokens" to be added to the caucus room without regard to their merit? I'll allow Dr Stone to respond;
"I don't care about that 'tokenism' label; bring it on if you must," she said.
"We'll prove that it's not about a woman being simply put there because of her gender - she'll prove her worth.
"Put her in the place and stand back and watch her grow."
But of course, silly old Dr Stone fails to realise that no self-respecting party of the right could ever countenace such a thing. It's only "left lurching ... fruitloops" who believe in taking measures to achieve gender equality. Sensible parties realise that women will just have to wait for things to magically fix themselves. Sometime. In the never-never.