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Here's Proof Australian Politics Still Has A Problem With Women

11% women. In 2016.

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State and territory leaders (plus their minions) assembled in Canberra on April Fools Day for #COAG2016, a talkfest about income tax, health, education and domestic violence.

Lukas Coch / AAPIMAGE

Notably absence from the COAG discussions the Prime Minister has labelled "the most fundamental reform to the federation in generations".... were women.

Of the 26 people people around the table, only three women were present.

Here's who they were:

Woman #1 - Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

Lukas Coch / AAPIMAGE

Labor Premier Palaszczuk is the highest ranking female at the COAG discussions.

By all accounts, she's not happy to be there.

QLD's education minister Kate Jones said the honeymoon between Queensland and the federal government is over, specifically highlighting the Turnbull government's "appalling record on education".

"Who would have thought Malcolm Turnbull would make Tony Abbott look progressive?" she said.

Woman #2 - NSW Treasurer Gladys Berejiklian.

Joel Carrett / AAPIMAGE

The NSW Liberal Treasurer hasn't been doing much talking during this year's COAG.

But don't worry, her male boss Premier Mike Baird is all over it.


Female representation at the top of Australian politics is an ongoing battle. Malcolm Turnbull said it would be ideal to have a cabinet with 50 per cent women when he became Prime Minister last year. But we're not quite there yet.

Lukas Coch / AAPIMAGE

The Turnbull government has six women in his cabinet (out of 22 positions) and 10 in his executive.

That's three times better than former PM Tony Abbott who only allowed two women into cabinet during his reign.

Compare that to Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau who swept to power at the same time as Malcolm Turnbull, and has 50/50 gender representation in his cabinet.

When asked why he appointed 15 men and 15 women he said, "Because it's 2015".

Well, it's 2016 now and we're rocking 11% around the most important table in Australia.

NT 👦🏽, Tassie 👱🏻, NSW 👦🏼, VIC 👦🏻, PM 👴🏻, QLD 👩🏻, SA 👨🏼, ACT 👦🏻. #auspol #COAGdudefest2016

@workmanalice Council Of Australian Guys


@WynRichards @SeanBradbery @workmanalice Continuance Of Arguments Group...

@workmanalice @johndory49 @cochl Thats because most women with any sense don't want to hang out with douches like these #auspol

@workmanalice They're at the table to make sure the serious decision maker guy people don't run out of coffee. (1950s throwback)

Alice Workman is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Canberra.

Contact Alice Workman at

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