Story blogs

Women running outside the mainstream are the story of this election

Zali Steggall was the first of the Teal Independents to win her seat, retaining Warringah, followed by Allegra Spender winning the Wentworth seat for the first time a few hours later.

Later, Zoe Daniel took over Goldstein’s seat.

And around 10 p.m., Treasurer Josh Frydenberg gave what sounded a lot like a concession speech – although he said the race against Dr Monique Ryan was still close enough to go to mail-in votes.

Late overnight as it became clear Anthony Albanese would be Australia’s next prime minister – but not yet clear whether he would lead with a majority.

Dr. Sophie Scamps took MacKellar’s seat from Jason Fallinski.

Kylea Tink won North Sydney over Trent Zimmerman.

And it was expected that more seats would go to women running as independents.

Suddenly, a handful of women took the Liberal men’s seats – like Steggall, who did in 2019 when she won the Northern Beaches seat from Tony Abbott.

The number of female MPs in the lower house is expected to increase dramatically after this election.

In the metropolitan seats of Melbourne and Sydney, there were huge swings against the Coalition towards Teal’s independent candidates, with analysts citing “professional women” as a powerful cohort of voters protesting against the Coalition government.

Voting went differently in Queensland, where there was a significant swing to the Greens – which will again see more women join the lower house.

Overall, the vote was mixed across the country, with Australians turning away from the two main parties in unprecedented ways.

Zali Steggall said during her victory speech that: “We have shown that politics can be about positive policies, it can be about positive changes.”

In those seats where women vote, the priority policy areas appear to be climate change, political integrity and equality.

Climate change emerged as the number one area Women’s Agenda readers wanted to see prioritized during the election campaign. This result was repeated in several polls and surveys, including the ABC’s Vote Compass.

Analysts noted that “professional women” in metropolitan areas have been a decisive factor in this campaign, becoming a powerful cohort that has the ability to change the course of political history.

And the Coalition will do a lot of thinking following this election.

“Gender is clearly a factor in that,” LNP’s Simon Birmingham told the ABC.

Is it time to start screening more women? Absolutely. This is a very clear message sent to us by the electorate, but we cannot simply say that it is enough to preselect more women.