Senator Cash will be joined by Sussan Ley, Julie Bishop, Marise Payne and Kelly O’Dwyer in Cabinet. The inclusion of 5 women in the most senior ranks of government in the year 2015 hardly represents a revolution, but, it marks a respectable improvement.
Remember two years ago when there was a single woman in Cabinet for twelve months? And then those heady days when had TWO? Well now we have 5.
That in itself is promising for the new Minister for Women. For the past two years the West Australian Senator Michaelia Cash has had the unenviable task of assisting the Prime Minister for Women in the women’s portfolio.
Given this was the same Prime Minister who deemed it perfectly reasonable to include a single woman in his leadership group of 19, Tony Abbott’s commitment to the portfolio seemed tenuous.
That 18 months into his job Abbott designated abolishing the carbon tax as his greatest achievement for women confirmed as much. Throughout that time Michaelia Cash dutifully fulfilled the role as the Prime Minister’s assistant. She attended a huge number of women-focused events, particularly concerning ending violence against women, but it was clear her hands were tied.
Now, as the minister, Senator Cash will have the scope to set and pursue an agenda for women.
So who is our new Minister for Women?
Michaelia Cash grew up in Perth and is a longstanding member of the Liberal party in WA. She was an executive member of the Curtin University Young Liberals from 1988 to 1990 and then the Western Australian Young Liberal Movement. Her father the Hon George Cash was a WA state MP and then the Member of Mount Lawley.
“I have always been interested in politics. I joined the Liberal Party when I was sixteen as a Young Liberal and have been an active member since 1986,” Cash told her old school Iona in 2011.