Prime Minister Tony Abbott calls for more women in Parliament
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Prime Minister Tony Abbott calls for more women in Parliament

Prime Minister Tony Abbott is urging the Liberal Party to pre-select more women to boost their numbers in the Federal Parliament.

Mr Abbott says the party must become less "blokey" and, while not imposing a quota, it must aim at increasing the number of women in the parliament and the ministry.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott, wearing the Australian Diamonds netball scarf, has called for more women to be pre-selected by the Liberal Party.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott, wearing the Australian Diamonds netball scarf, has called for more women to be pre-selected by the Liberal Party.

Photo: Andrew Meares

"If we don't get the percentage of women up, we will be letting ourselves down," Mr Abbott told a Liberal function in Adelaide on Saturday.

He said merit must remain the driving factor in choosing candidates, but the party had to give a fair go to politically interested and able women if it is to be the best it can be.

"If even the Australian Army can become less blokey, then so must we," he said.

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"To be serious about winning elections, we must be more serious about engaging, pre-selecting and sending to parliament the representatives of 50 per cent of the electorate.

"It would be entirely reasonable for our party to have, not a quota, but a target to increase the number of women in the parliament and in our government at every opportunity."

Mr Abbott said those opportunities must also include increasing the number of women within the ministry at every reshuffle.

An internal party report is being prepared to make the Liberal Party more representative and Mr Abbott said he hoped it will include specific steps and targets to lift female parliamentary numbers.

"We need to have a platitude-free conversation within our party about how we can make more of ourselves by making more of those women who are natural Liberals," he said.

AAP