TASMANIA'S only member of the Coalition's new frontbench has defended the lack of women in cabinet and the Liberals' seven-man Tasmanian team.
Senator Eric Abetz was yesterday confirmed as Employment Minister and will also have the tough task of dealing with a disparate bunch of Senators elected from micro parties as Leader of the Government in the Senate.
Senator Abetz will be joined by only one woman in cabinet, Deputy Liberal Leader Julie Bishop.
``We have a number of high-quality women who will be serving in the junior ministry,'' Senator Abetz said. ``At the end of the day you have to make very tough calls.''
Liberal Senate candidate Sally Chandler is not out of the race for the sixth Tasmanian Senate spot, but if she loses all of the seven Liberals representing the state in Canberra will be male.
``We endorsed four exceptionally excellent women in Denison and Franklin and in the third and fourth positions on the Senate ticket,'' Senator Abetz said. ``It is a question of the Liberal Party membership making a decision of the best person for the job in each electorate.
``It is on the basis of merit, and the example of those four women is an indication that the Liberal Party is attracting very high-calibre women.''
Devonport-based Senator Richard Colbeck was named the most senior parliamentary secretary in the Coalition, serving under Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce.
``I look forward to implementing the policy that I spent time developing in opposition,'' Senator Colbeck said.