Premier-elect Colin Barnett has just announced his Liberal minority-government Cabinet for Western Australia, which includes three National Party members and one Independent.
National leader Brendon Grylls, who kept the state on tenterhooks waiting to see who he would throw the Nats’ weight behind as Premier, is responsible for Regional Development. Independent Liz Constable has taken Education, Tourism, and Women’s Interests. And sexual harasser Troy Buswell, as expected, has been handed the Treasury.
Liz Constable, Robyn McSweeney and Donna Faragher are the only women in Barnett’s 17-member Cabinet. Women are more poorly represented than non-Liberals are. Women were 6 of 15 in the outgoing Labor Cabinet, which means that the changing of the guard has seen women’s representation in Cabinet slashed by over 50%.
I hope Constable can get some work done in her Women’s Interests portfolio. Given her history of pooh-poohing Hodson-Thomas’ experience of sexual harassment, and saying that sexism in parliament shouldn’t be “blown out of proportion”, I don’t know how hopeful I am.