For the past two decades, we've had a control and a test case.
In 1994, the Australian Labor Party adopted its first quota for gender equality within its ranks.
The Liberal Party did not.
Watch: Scott Morrison on Tuesday addressed the "women problem" in Australian politics. Post continues after video.
While the Labor Party mandated that women would be pre-selected for 35 per cent of winnable seats at all parliamentary elections by 2002, the Liberal Party decided against quotas, and with that gave Australians front row seats to a political experiment.
The argument against such a quota usually falls into one of three camps: people should be hired on the basis of merit not gender, quotas fail to address underlying discrimination, and quotas are undemocratic because voters should be able to decide who is elected.
But what we've seen is that without them, nothing changes. And the Liberal Party in 2021 is proof of that.
In 1994, both major parties had about 14 per cent women in their federal ranks. In 2021, 47 per cent of the Labor Party’s federal MPs are women, while the Liberal Party only has 26 per cent female MPs.
Right now Labor is working towards a goal of women making up 50 per cent of the party’s MPs by 2025, after surpassing their original benchmarks incrementally.
"There's no intervention that ensures affirmative action it's just that people are thinking about it all the time. It's like a value that's articulated that we want to get to equality. And unless you are saying that all the time ('we want to get to 50-50'), and unless you are prepared to be publicly measured against that aspiration that you've publicly declared - nothing happens. Inertia sets in," Deputy Labor Leader Tanya Plibersek told Mamamia's No Filter podcast.
Listen Tanya Plibersek's whole chat with Mia Freedman below. Post continues after.
Canberra has had a 'women problem' since the dawn of time, with former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull telling ABC's 7:30 earlier this year, "women are treated with disrespect regularly, I would say almost institutionally in Parliament. It reminds me of the corporate world in the 1970s — it's so out of date."