Politics

The Liberals Are Set To Lose Yet Another Female MP As Kelly O’Dwyer Announces Shock Resignation

Her announcement comes two months after she slammed her party for coming across as "homophobic, anti-women, climate-change deniers".

Liberal MP Kelly O'Dwyer announces retirement

The Liberal Party is set to lose yet another female MP after Industrial Relations Minister and Minister for Women Kelly O’Dwyer announced today that she will not contest the next election.

O’Dwyer made the shock announcement at a press conference in Melbourne this afternoon. With Prime Minister Scott Morrison by her side, she said her reasons for quitting were “complex”, but that the decisive reasons were “very personal”.

“I no longer want to consistently miss out on seeing my children when they wake up in the morning or go to bed at night, and I want to know that when I am around my time with them is not constantly disrupted,” O’Dwyer said.

“My husband and I want to give ourselves the best opportunity to have a third child,” she added. “I turn 42 this year, and everything has to go right.”

O’Dwyer stressed that her decision “does not mean that men or women need to chose between family and public service.”

Her announcement comes two months after she slammed her own party following its dismal performance in the Victorian state election. During a crisis meeting with other federal Victorian MPs, the member for the inner-Melbourne seat of Higgins said the Liberals were viewed by voters as “homophobic, anti-women, climate-change deniers”. I mean, she’s not wrong.

O’Dwyer isn’t the only woman in the Liberal Party to have expressed these sorts of concerns. Fellow MP Julia Banks quit the party in November to sit as an independent. In an explosive speech to Parliament announcing her decision, she said both major parties were “years behind” when it came to the representation of women.

Former Foreign Minister Julia Bishop has likewise referenced a culture of “bullying, intimidation, harassment and coercion” and the “unfair unequal treatment of women” within the Liberal Party.

O’Dwyer will remain in Parliament until the federal election later this year. She told reporters she had “no doubt” that the candidate chosen to replace her would be a woman.

Morrison said O’Dwyer had “made the right choice for her family”.

“I support all women’s choices,” he said. “I want women to have more choices and all the independence that comes with that.”

As it stands, less than a quarter of government MPs are women.