The Andrews Labor Government has appointed a gender-equal ministry for the first time in Victorian state history.
In the days following the Labor Party’s win in the Victorian state election, re-elected Premier Daniel Andrews announced his new 22 MP cabinet line-up would encompass 11 men and 11 women.
"Today my colleagues have delivered something that has never been achieved in the history of our state – 50% of the cabinet are women," Andrews told reporters following a caucus meeting. "This is a strong, progressive and united team that will not waste a single day implementing Labor’s election promises and delivering for all Victorians. There is now an equality agenda in our state's most important decision-making body."
This is our Cabinet. And there's something unique about this group. For the first time in Victoria's history, the Cabinet is 50 per cent women. It's a government that reflects this state. As it should. Here in Victoria, this is what merit looks like. pic.twitter.com/xb6URtXlK0— Dan Andrews (@DanielAndrewsMP) November 30, 2018
New female additions to the ministry include Northern Victorian MP Jaclyn Symes, Dandenong MP Gabrielle Williams and Williamstown MP Melissa Horne.
Symes will be appointed as Deputy Leader of the Government in the Legislative Council and will oversee the Regional Development, Agriculture and Resources portfolios. Williams will join the Cabinet as Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence, Women and Youth while Horne will become Minister for Public Transport, Ports and Freight.
Jacinta Allan will take on the Level Crossing Removal Program with her role as Minister for Transport Infrastructure. Allan will work closely with Jaala Pulford, the newly appointed Minister for Fishing, Boating, Roads and the TAC. Gayle Tierney will oversee the implementation of Free TAFE as her role as the Minister for Training, Skills and Higher Education while Jenny Mikakos takes on the Free School Dental Program as Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services.
Lily D’Ambrosio will return to her previously held appointment as the Minister for Energy, Solar Homes, Environment and Climate Change. She will oversee Labor’s commitment to 50% renewable energy by 2030. Jill Hennessy will become Labor’s first female Attorney General alongside working as the Minister for Workplace Safety.
Lisa Neville will take on the Police and Emergency Services portfolios while continuing her previously held position as Minister for Water. Marlene Kairouz will remain as Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation as well as Minister for Suburban Development. Mary-Anne Thomas similarly continues her position as the Cabinet Secretary.
Research has shown that including more women in elevated positions of political and corporate power makes strong economic and business sense. A report by McKinsey Global Institute entitled Power With Purpose revealed that an extra $28 trillion – or 26% of incremental global GDP – could be achieved in 2025 if "women were to participate in the world of work identically to men." Likewise, a cross-country report by Stockholm University disclosed that equal gendered governments lead to overall greater expenditure on education as a share of GDP.
In December, Queensland became the first Australian state to achieve 50/50 gender representation with Annastacia Palaszczuk's government. The Northern Territory cabinet and the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly are similarily largely gender neutral while New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia are all predominantly male. Worldwide, Australia sits in 50th position regarding the percentage of overall women in federal parliaments, behind Namibia, Ecuador and the Philippines.