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Equal gender representation in the Senate



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Equal gender representation in the Senate

Posted 13/09/2019 by Anna Hough

With the

swearing-in of Sarah Henderson

on 12 September 2019 to the Senate to fill the casual

vacancy created by the resignation of

Mitch Fifield

(Lib., Vic.), the Senate now comprises 38

women and 38 men. This is the first time in the Senate’s history that it has had equal gender

representation. Senator Henderson is the former Liberal Member for Corangamite (Vic., 2013-

19).

Twenty years ago (as at 1 July 1999), 28.9 per cent of senators were women. Over the years this

figure has increased gradually, rising to 39.5 per cent by the commencement of the previous

(45th) Parliament on 30 August 2016. When the new senators in the current (46th) Parliament

took their seats on 1 July 2019, the percentage of women rose by almost ten per cent to 48.7 per

cent—now reaching 50 per cent with the appointment of Senator Henderson. If a woman fills the

vacancy that arises due to the

anticipated resignation of Arthur Sinodinos

(Lib., NSW), the

majority of senators will be women.

In the House of Representatives

30.5 per cent of members are women

, the highest proportion in

that chamber to date. At the commencement of the previous (45th) Parliament on 30 August

2016, women comprised 28.7 per cent of members of the House of Representatives. Twenty

years ago (as at 1 July 1999), 22.3 per cent of members of the House of Representatives were

women.

Of the eight state and territory parliaments, women form the majority in two: Tasmania (in both

the

Legislative Council

, the

House of Assembly

and the parliament as a whole) and the

Australian Capital Territory

(which has a single chamber).

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