About half of Australian women support the idea of using quotas to increase the number of women in Parliament, but a majority of men are opposed to the idea, Vote Compass data shows.
Debate flared last year over the best way to bring more women into politics, on both sides of the House of Representatives. Bill Shorten said Labor should aim to have a 50-50 male-female split in Parliament by 2025. Senior Liberal minister Christopher Pyne said his party needed to find ways to help young women into Parliament. His colleague MP Sharman Stone backed the idea of a quota.
New data from Vote Compass shows that among women, while there's no majority viewpoint, more support quotas than oppose them.
‘My problem with targets is, what's the penalty if they're not achieved?’ said Dr Lauren Rosewarne, a political scientist at the University of Melbourne. ‘It sounds to me rather arbitrary — 'this is something we'd like to happen, but if it doesn't we'll just try again'. I'd rather see quotas in place that mandate that necessary change.’
But the data shows a clear majority of men are not keen on the idea.
The quotas debate is also pretty clearly split along political lines, according to the data.
A majority of Labor voters back quotas, whereas a majority of Liberal and National Party voters don't.
The population as a whole is pretty divided on the issue.