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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 7 Hansard (1 July) . . Page.. 3238..


MRS DUNNE (continuing):

financial security for women, population ageing and health and eliminating violence against women.

These are similar to the issues to be addressed by the Asian and Pacific Parliamentarians and Ministers at their conference this week.

She also said that this would be "a great opportunity...to showcase some of our own achievements for women in the Australian Capital Territory".

Minister, seeing that you were talking about financial security for women and eliminating violence against women, I hope that you also took note of the joint parliamentary committee on the Australian Crime Commission report, tabled last week, entitled Inquiry into the Trafficking of Women for Sexual Servitude. This report showed that at least 300 women are trafficked into Australia for sex each year, mostly from Asia and predominantly from Thailand, and that this is a significant problem that needs to be taken seriously.

As I have said on a number of occasions, it is good to see bodies around the country starting to take this issue seriously. The federal government made considerable progress last year in August-September-October in finding a refreshed way of looking at this. The joint committee on the Australian Crime Commission has made another contribution. I hope that all those policy bodies interested in the furtherance of the welfare of women take on board the recommendations of the committee and make their contribution to ensuring that this insidious violation of human rights is stopped in its tracks.

I would also like to note that last weekend I had the privilege of attending two functions put on by the Croatian community to mark Croatian National Day. One was an embassy function and the other one, on Saturday night, which I was able to attend for a short period, was put on by the Croatian community in Australia. That was well attended, at the usual venue for such things, the Croatia Deakin Soccer Club.

It was heartening to see a wide representation of community members from the multicultural community and many of my colleagues from the Liberal Party there in support of the Croatian community. But it was a little irksome that, to my knowledge, ministers of the Labor government have said for three years that they would turn up to this event and for three years in a row have failed to show. Members of the Croatian community are starting to feel that perhaps the Labor government takes no interest in multicultural affairs. I see members at events from time to time, but it seems strange that for three years in a row ministers have not been able to show, when the organisers were told that they were coming.

Homelessness

MS TUCKER (10.30): Mrs Burke has made a comment in this debate, and I felt I have been unkind and I am sorry if I was unkind. I would just like to say that I found it extraordinary that an email from the shadow minister for disability, housing and community care was going around the Assembly that made the statement, incorrectly, that, "Clearly...is homeless but that's cool with us and her." I am sorry, but I had to respond to that. Apart from privacy issues, it shows a total lack of understanding of what it means to be homeless.


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