- Australia

Workforce Participation Minister Sharman Stone says more than half of Federal politicians should be women.

And she says more men should be working in child care.

In the second National Press Club debate of the election campaign, two prominent female politicians went head-to-head today on women’s issues.

Opposition women’s spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek has taken on Dr Stone one of only three women in the coalition ministry.

Ms Plibersek says the Labor side of politics is far more gender-balanced with almost 40 per cent of the caucus women.

But she says she’s worried many potential female politicians are turning away because of messages that some coalition members are putting out.

Ms Plibersek quoted Liberal Bill Heffernan’s labelling of Labor’s Deputy Leader Julia Gillard as “deliberately barren”.

However, neither Ms Plibersek nor Dr Stone would make any firm commitment to paid maternity leave.Go to website to watch the video.