Australia’s new Prime Minister’s Office takes a step towards gender equality

(Bloomberg) – Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will have a record number of female ministers in his new cabinet, which is set to become one of the most diverse governments in the country’s history.

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There will be ten women sworn in as ministers, holding key portfolios of foreign affairs, finance, home affairs and the environment while an Indigenous Australian woman will lead the Department of Indigenous Affairs for the first time ever. She is one more woman minister compared to the previous government.

Albanese unveiled its new cabinet at a press conference in Canberra on Tuesday, describing it as an “exciting team” that was “overflowing with talent, with people absolutely committed”. Ministers will be sworn in on Wednesday.

The announcement came as his Labor government is expected to win 77 seats in Australia’s 151-seat House of Representatives, which will allow him to govern with a majority. However, Albanese will still have to negotiate legislation through the Senate, where around 12 Australian Greens senators could hold a veto over his agenda.

Australian women’s frustration with the lack of action to address systemic sexism in Australia, including the gender pay gap and widespread sexual harassment, was a major issue in the 2022 election.

Former Prime Minister Scott Morrison was widely seen as having a problem with women voters, with polls ahead of Election Day showing widespread dissatisfaction with his government among women.

Three of the new ministers, in addition to Albanese, were already known after being sworn in shortly after the Labor Party came to power on May 21: Treasurer Jim Chalmers, Foreign Secretary Penny Wong and Finance Minister Katy Gallagher.

Joining them are new Defense Minister Richard Marles, who is also Australian Deputy Prime Minister, Climate Change and Energy Minister Chris Bowen, Environment and Water Minister Tanya Plibersek and the Health Minister Mark Butler. Gallagher will also become Minister for Women.

Albania’s government is facing challenges on multiple fronts just days into its mandate, with high inflation driving up the price of gasoline and groceries, while rising interest rates in from June is expected to put additional pressure on landlords.

At the same time, China is moving quickly to forge a series of economic and security agreements in the Pacific, which could undermine Australia’s role as the main partner of choice in the region.

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