Josh Frydenberg concedes Liberal Party “must do more” to recruit women | Coalition

Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg conceded that the Liberal Party must “do more” to recruit women as he signaled the government would take action against sexual harassment in Parliament before the end of the year.

On Sunday, the Deputy Liberal Leader commented on ABC’s Insiders show, where he also raised the possibility of the opposition coalition blocking Labor’s 43% emissions reduction target for 2030.

Australian Gender Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins on Tuesday recommended a major overhaul of the toxic work culture of the Federal Parliament after delivering her landmark report which found that one in three staff members questioned had experienced harassment sexual.

The report also drew attention to the Liberal Party’s failure to achieve equal representation of women in parliament without quotas, despite the adoption of targets of 50% in some states, including New South Wales.

On Sunday, Frydenberg defended the federal Liberals’ record, noting that 38% of its MPs and senators were women. Although representation in the lower house is closer to a quarter, half of the party’s senators are women.

“There has been progress – 25 years ago around 20% of parliamentarians were women. Ten years ago, it was 30%, ”he said. “Today, we are approaching 40%. We have made progress… we need to do more.

Frydenberg said it was “not fair” for the Victorian-era Liberal Party to continue to shortlist men for up-to-date seats such as Casey and Menzies, where Liberal incumbents Tony Smith and Kevin Andrews are stepping down.

He cited the fact that Senator Sarah Henderson tops the Victorian Liberal slate and the party has shortlisted women to compete for the Labor fringe seats in Dunkley and Corangamite.

When asked if he was familiar with the detailed harassment by Jenkins, Frydenberg replied “not to this extent”, saying that beyond several “very concerning allegations”, what Jenkins found was a “culture of ‘standardized misconduct’.

“It is totally unacceptable. In any workplace, let alone the nation’s workplace.

“The Australian people have a right to expect us to be leaders and to uphold the highest standards. And the best practice. We must therefore continue to act on this Kate Jenkins report. “

Frydenberg said Prime Minister Scott Morrison had already acted by seeking advice from his department, revealing the cabinet would consider a response “before the end of the year.”

“We will act on all recommendations,” said the treasurer.

“We are absolutely looking at it. This is a multi-stakeholder process. This is our chance to draw a line in the sand and tell the people of Australia, we will be better than we have been. “

Earlier, Frydenberg had sounded the alarm over Labor’s 2030 climate target, despite the fact that a 43% emissions cut is less ambitious than the target of several liberal-national governments. and many business groups.

Frydenberg said Labor was looking to legislate on its target, which they would do ‘in partnership with the Greens’, meaning 43% was just a ‘first offer’ which could be increased after the election .

“At the end of the day, we have our target, 26-28% by 2030, but we are on track for a 35% reduction,” he said.

When asked if the Coalition would block the Labor target if it was in opposition, Frydenberg replied: “We are not about to support Labor policy. We have our own policy and that is what we seek to implement.

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Frydenberg faces a tough election campaign to take his seat in Kooyong, central Melbourne, where climate change action is popular, while also seeking to keep Labor in opposition by winning votes in regional regions that fear the impact of more stringent emission reductions.

Frydenberg attacked Labor Party policy for using the safeguard mechanism – a cap on emissions from the biggest polluters that was implemented by the Abbott coalition government.

He said it was meant to prevent the growth of emissions but “was not meant to be that stick in the mandate, to push these industrial players to force them to cut their emissions by a certain amount.”

This would “punish” large industrial companies “whatever their growth, whatever their plans to expand their presence,” he said.

Frydenberg said the mid-year economic update would forecast growth in Australia, citing estimates of up to 5.5% growth in 2022.

“We are starting to see labor shortages that will have a positive impact on wages,” he said.

Earlier, Deputy Leader of the Labor Party, Richard Marles, told Sky News that Labor had come up with “a sensible proposal” that would lower electricity prices, create jobs and cut emissions.

Marles said the 43% emission reduction figure was selected after researching “practical steps we could take that we knew Australia would be willing to support,” and then determined “where it took the numbers. “.

Marles noted that the safeguard mechanism was “their [the Coalition’s] creation ”, and all Labor had done was adopt the Australian Business Council’s recommendation to lower the emissions benchmark over time.

Marles rejected the proposal that the policy could cost Labor the election, or that it faced a compromise between environmentally-conscious downtown voters and regional voters more concerned about job security .

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