The 2015 Queensland State Conference saw significant changes to our Affirmative Action rule that will likely affect upcoming preselections. Left members need to understand these changes and how they will work in practice to make sure we continue to support, and elect left women into parliament. As the Left, we must continue to be at the forefront of promoting and encouraging women to run for representative office.
The successful motion amended the Rules to ensure that by 2025, 50 per cent of Labor Councilors, 50 per cent of State Members and 50 Per cent of Federal Members and Senators in Queensland will be women. However there are also milestones we must reach along the way with 40% required now and 45% by 2022.
This is not an aspirational target but a “must meet”, for the rules also stipulate that if during the pre-selection process the target is not met, the process starts again until it is.
In addition, a special Affirmative Action Standing Committee was formed. The central purpose of this committee is to examine what the barriers are to the recruitment, retention and promotion of women members. The Committee will devise and develop strategies and resources necessary to address these barriers.
The Committee will work with the Queensland Labor Women’s Network and its elected representatives to achieve these aims.
The Left members of the Affirmative Action Committee are myself, Kate Luke, along with Wendy Streets and Nita Green. We are all looking forward to utilising the opportunity this committee presents to engage with Labor members. In addition to truly understand the barriers facing potential women members we must also reach out to the broader community. We need to build understanding of the new rule along with further discussions to collect knowledge on how to better engage, support and promote women in our party.