Women on council? It’s just too blokey. Minister meets women candidates

A GROUP of about 10 women met with Parramatta Lord Mayor Bob Dwyer and Federal Minister for Women Marise Payne to discuss running for local government at the end of April.

The women are, for the most part, already involved in the community or business but are still unsure if a political life is for them, reports Cr Dwyer.

Cr Dwyer is leading a campaign to enlist more Liberal women to run for local government, specifically Parramatta Council, which has never had an endorsed Liberal woman councillor.

But time is running out, as nominations for the September 2 council elections close in June.

At virtually the 11th hour, Cr Dwyer managed to get Senator Payne to take time out of her busy schedule as Foreign Minister and Minister for Women to help convince local women to run for council.

“It’s time we tried our best to convince some quality women to run for council,” Cr Dwyer told the Times.

“It was my job to gather women I thought would be interested and have a meeting with Ms Payne.

“We are looking for women already in the Party, but there might be some willing to join, or rejoin if they have left.”

Cr Dwyer admitted that politics, even at branch level, was still too blokey and frightened off women.

Women at the meeting were concerned about discrimination in the branches, which saw them placed at the bottom of voting tickets, in unwinnable positions.

Juggling family

They also were worried about how to juggle family, working and civic duties – concerns that men did not have as much.

Cr Dwyer said if branches made preselection difficult for women “the State executive may have to get involved”.

“It is time we broke the mould,” he said.

Senator Payne said she has long been passionate about “increasing the representation of women, regardless of political stripe, in elected bodies, whether they be in school P&Cs, chambers of commerce, boardrooms, our state and federal parliaments, local government, among many others.”

“As the Liberal Senator for Western Sydney, I’m focused on supporting more women across the entirety of our region, to help foster a triangle of opportunity spanning from Macarthur, up to the Hawkesbury and across to Parramatta,” Senator Payne told The Times.

“Sydney’s second city requires diverse and dynamic representation to help it come fully into maturity.”

Photo: Minister Marise Payne.

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