WOMEN are responsible for fewer females entering politics, according to high profile political figures Amanda Stoker and Jacinta Price.
They claim they owe their Liberal Party successes largely to the support and guidance of “great” men.
Ms Stoker, a federal senator from Queensland, said her treatment by other women had been broadly discouraging.
“I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the support, encouragement and guidance of great blokes,” she told a booked out auditorium at the influential Northern Conservative Forum in Sydney on Monday.
“To be honest there has not been too many women behind me in this journey so far,” Ms Stoker said.
“We need to face up to the idea that sometimes women aren’t great to women – and I’d like that to change,” she said.
“In general, women can be very competitive, they can be very territorial and they can sometimes be cruel.
“I don’t think we are always honest about that in our public debates about gender balance.”
Ms Stoker said Australia had to make a choice.
“You either have gender quotas or you have true democracy – you can’t have both,” she said.
“Whether in my career in law or in politics, some of the most supportive and helpful people have been fathers of daughters.
“That’s been on the basis that they want their girls to have every opportunity available to them.”
Ms Price, who serves as deputy mayor of Alice Springs, told the forum that Australia’s current bi-partisan approach to gender quotas was concerning.
“It’s really unfortunate that it has become bi-partisan. I feel like it’s the easy way out,” Ms Price said.
“We’re living in a time when there’s so much incredible added pressure on our leaders,” she said.
“We’ve got social media, people who can immediately criticise you and attempt to take you down and can form enough hysteria to target leaders and hammer them until they give up.
“I feel as though this [bi-partisanship] is almost a way of putting this issue to rest. That the easiest way to deal with it is just to agree with it. To just push it aside and to get on with what we need to get on with.”
Ms Price said gender quotas were a thin edge.
“What we don’t want is somebody being preselected on the basis of their gender – but not just gender but on their race as well,” she said
“It comes down to the right person for the job. It’s a wonderful bonus if that person is a female as well.
“Like Amanda [Stoker], I’ve had incredible support from a lot of men throughout my career.
“I’m a daddy’s girl and my dad has been a solid rock in my corner.
“Without that love and without that support, I don’t know where I would be.
“The Left may claim to have a lot more women on board, but they’re not doing a better job as a result, are they? Let’s face it.
“It’s insulting that you may have been chosen because you’re a woman as opposed to your hard work, your determination and on your own merits.” PC