There are almost 13 million women and girls living in this country. They need Liberal women to represent them.

Such is the polarisation in our democracy that many on the left likely disagree with this statement. The left-wing activists, trolls and keyboard warriors who have successfully hounded Nicolle Flint out of politics obviously don’t want women to have a voice if they’re conservative. Likewise, my experience of being reported to the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Commissioner for advocating for women to be able to have their own sports clearly indicates that men on the left don’t want to allow Liberal women to speak up for women’s rights.

Allowing such people to have a win by making conservative women less inclined to enter politics would not only be a tragedy for the Liberal Party, but it would leave millions of Australian women without proper representation in Parliament. Now is the time for the Liberal Party to develop our own recognisable brand of advocacy on women’s issues, so those women who are disrespected and not represented by Labor and the Greens actually have a seat at the table.

Women’s rights debates and social politics generally in Australia is currently dominated by the left-wing, which leaves a huge number of women under-represented in these discussions. Consider the fact that none of the most visible women’s groups or the largest political parties in Australia are currently prepared to use the dictionary definition of the word woman (an adult human female) because radical left-wing gender theory absurdly dictates that such language is offensive.

There are millions of centre-right Australian women who are never going to join left-wing feminist groups or author Twitter threads about “toxic masculinity” and “smashing the patriarchy”. We want many of the same outcomes – safety, respect in the workplace and in all walks of life, well-paid jobs with genuine choice over the direction of our careers. But we happen to disagree about the best way to achieve it. The Liberal Party must be there to represent those women.

Equally, an increasing number of women who have traditionally considered themselves of the left are being driven away from left-wing parties by a disturbing lack of respect they are shown if they have views or acknowledge facts which don’t fit the current left-wing dogma. The commentariat, mainstream media and particularly social media is filled with left-wing men who delight in mocking, abusing and threatening women who advocate for sex-based rights or who investigate and report on the dangers of the sex industry.

As a Liberal Senator who has been outspoken in defence of women’s sex-based rights, I know as well as anyone that respect for women is a one-way street for many on the left. I’ve worked closely with feminists who have been threatened and verbally abused for advocating for women’s rights. The Labor and Green parties have made it abundantly clear they are not interested even in hearing their points of view, let alone representing them. The Liberal Party also has an opportunity – I would suggest an obligation – to represent these women.

Women of all political persuasions tell me that it’s becoming increasingly difficult, even scary, to stand up against the bullying, abusive mobs and the bureaucracies that are enforcing this ideology. The Liberal Party has a huge opportunity to take a stand on behalf of women (and men) who want to be able to advocate for biological reality and sex-based rights. Trying to play a small target strategy and avoid conflict with the left on a matter as fundamental as how you define a woman is a critical error which makes our society poorer.

There is an overwhelming amount of evidence, both statistical and through the many shocking stories we are hearing, demonstrating how tragically common sexual violence and harassment against women is. So many women are now openly stating their fears of walking home or going for a jog after dark. The reality of being female is inextricably linked to the question of why women are subjected to these experiences and fears. That’s why acknowledging this reality matters.

Australian women need and deserve a Liberal Party which understands and addresses all of these issues with urgent priority in a logical, sensible way. The question for Liberals should not be do we need quotas for women (how would this even work if we don’t properly define the word ‘woman’?). The question is, what are we doing to prove to women who don’t identify with Labor and the Greens that there is a Liberal Party which will fight their corner?