Is the Qld LNP Australia’s most misogynist political party?
IS this Australia's most misogynist political party?
Less than a week ago, members of Queensland's conservative Liberal National Party overwhelmingly voted, at their annual state conference, in favour of opposing any of the state's traffic pedestrian signals being switched to women.
The deputy state opposition leader, Deb Frecklington, is the first woman to grace a leadership role in the party's history but emphatically declared upon her ascension last year, "do not call me a feminist".
Now, another member of the state opposition's shadow cabinet, Tim Mander, has publicly declared that there are "too many women" on the state's parole board.
Just eight of the 41 LNP MPs in Queensland Parliament are women.
The number is thought to be reflective of the overall party membership, however, the LNP has not responded to requests from news.com.au for comment.
Mr Mander, the Minister for Housing in the Campbell Newman-led government that was dramatically swept from power after just one term in 2015, has rapidly backtracked from his comments, made during the annual budget estimates hearing on Thursday.
The Shadow Corrective Services spokesman questioned the government's Corrective Services Minister Mark Ryan about why 68 per cent of appointments to the Queensland parole board last month were women.
Mr Mander said he was concerned about a lack of diversity.
"How can you describe these appointments as diverse when there's such a major gender imbalance?" Mr Mander, a former NRL referee, asked during budget estimates on Thursday.
According to the ABC, Mr Ryan took Mr Mander to task, saying he was making an "outrageous inference" the women did not have the credentials for the job.
The broadcaster reported when he went on to list some of the women's work history, Mr Mander tried to shut him down.
On Friday morning, Mr Mander issued an apology, saying the comment was made in the "heat of the estimates battle".
"It was never my intention to reflect poorly on the women on the parole board," he said.
Mr Mander's comments came just days after he was the lucky winner of a quilt raffled at the party's annual, three day state conference by its women's arm, the Women's LNP, as a fundraiser.
It was also at this conference that the party's youth arm, the Young LNP, put forward a motion that the party publicly condemn any move in Queensland to follow Labor-led Victoria's lead and change male traffic signals to the images of women in the interests of gender diversity.
Young LNP president Mitchell Collier has also declined to return calls from news.com.au requesting comment about the motivation for the motion, but in its entirety, it read that the opposition came from the condemnation of "public moneys being spent on altering traffic light symbols for ideological purposes."
The wider party passed the resolution, meaning its position is formalised as party policy.
At the same state conference, West Australian Liberal senator Linda Reynolds warned her colleagues that if they did not preselect more women, the party risked losing at state and federal elections.
Senator Reynolds was part of a panel discussion at the convention, alongside Queensland deputy leader Ms Frecklington and outgoing Women's LNP president Theresa Craig.
"If (we) want to keep winning elections, federal and state, we actually have to preselect more women, it's as simple as that," she said.
"Since 2001 a majority of women have stopped voting for us and we haven't won them back, and worse is younger voters no longer feel that we really represent them and every election we're losing both young men and young women."