Government Minister for Women, Jobs and Industrial Relations, Kelly O’Dwyer, has revealed that she plans to exit political life at the next election, citing “very personal” reasons as the catalyst.
She revealed during a press conference alongside Prime Minister Scott Morrison that her two children would “reach primary school age during the next parliament” and talked about her regret in missing “special moments” with her family while working in government.
Ms O’Dwyer said that she would remain in her role until the time of the next election and that she was “incredibly confident” another woman would be able to take over her role. She cited her major achievements as facilitating changes to superannuation, creating the Australian Financial Complaints authority and legislating on domestic violence.
The Labor Party has since said that Ms O’Dwyer’s decision to leave political life was indicative of the Liberal Party’s failure to adequately encourage and support women.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said that “it’s not her going which is the issue” but that it was unclear how the Liberal Party would promote another woman in their frontbench.
The Labor Party has implemented quotas to make sure that at least 50% of its members in parliament are women. The Liberal Party has criticised this policy as putting the gender of a candidate above their ability as a politician.
The Prime Minister rejected the idea that his party was poorly representing women, but highlighted that the method the Liberals would use to select candidates would always be reviewed to find improvements.