Published : 2013-09-16 20:53
Updated : 2013-09-16 20:53
SYDNEY (AFP) ― Australia’s new Prime Minister Tony Abbott unveiled his incoming cabinet Monday, attracting immediate criticism for including only one woman.
Conservative Liberal leader Abbott was elected by an overwhelming majority on Sept. 7, and in his first press conference since victory over the incumbent Labor Party named a widely-expected line-up.
Julie Bishop, the incoming foreign minister, is the only woman in the 19-member cabinet, although Abbott did promote several woman to the outer ministry.
“I’m obviously disappointed that there aren‘t more women in cabinet,” Abbott, who leads a Liberal/National coalition, told reporters in Canberra.
The new prime minister ―who last year was accused of misogyny by Julia Gillard, Australia’s first female premier, in a sexism speech that went viral around the world ― came under fire for the lack of women on his frontbench.
“The cabinet of Afghanistan now has more women in it than the cabinet of Australia,” interim opposition Labor leader Chris Bowen told reporters.
Senator Sue Boyce, a member of Abbott‘s Liberal Party, said the number reflected a “systemic problem for our party” in which women struggled to be promoted.
“It’s a shame that this shocking and embarrassing statistic will permanently tarnish a wonderful victory,” she said in a statement.