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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 9 Hansard (18 August) . . Page.. 3843..


MS TUCKER (continuing):

Parliamentarian can take a maximum of 263 week-days maternity leave whereas a male Member is entitled to three weeks paternity leave, all with full pay.

In summary, I think this debate is really important; it is quite appropriate before an election; it is about democracy. There are certainly gender issues related to this debate that should be brought into it.

The other brief comment I would make is that I agree that after-dinner debates are not necessarily distinguished by their rigour and quality. I can remember a couple of decisions made over the years at four o'clock in the morning-victims of crime comes to mind-when people were slightly tired and emotional, and all sorts of things were passed. That is a great example. Maybe that would have happened at 10.30 in the morning-who knows-but I do recall that, over the years, things have deteriorated after a dinner break. I do not see any reason why we are not prepared to look at this and take into account the implications thereof for everyone in the building-not just the members-as well as questions of democracy and gender.

I think it is a good point that has been raised that the administration and procedure committee could be proud to look at. We could broadcast to the general community that we are interested in this, because we want to attract good people to the Legislative Assembly. I can tell you that there are a lot of people who would not want to work here, for various reasons detailed in the gender-sensitising parliaments document I referred to earlier. The issue is a lot more than the sitting hours; it is the way people behave in parliaments as well.

MRS DUNNE (12.25): Under standing order 47, I seek leave to speak again. It is not a personal explanation; it is something that Ms Tucker said. I was misquoted in the debate, and I need to address that.

Leave granted.

MRS DUNNE: In the debate, Ms Tucker said that we sign up for the job; it is a shit job and we should just accept it. That is not what I said, or any of the sentiments I expressed. We do sign up for this job when we sign up for election but in no way did I imply that this is a shit job.

Mr Hargreaves: It is the best job in the world!

MRS DUNNE: I agree with Mr Hargreaves that it is the best job in the world. It is the best job I have ever had and I am proud to serve here. I think I need to place on the record that I do not think this is a shit job.

MS MacDONALD (12.26), in reply: I will go through some of the comments that were made, starting with those of Mrs Dunne, because she was the first up to speed. She started by saying that she would not talk about my vote in recent times on family issues and thereby draw attention to that very issue, as if to say that, because I had not voted the way Mrs Dunne had voted on an issue, that would therefore mean I was less inclined to support family-friendly measures. I think that is a false premise. It is a bit of a cheap shot on her part, to tell you the truth. The big reason for which Mrs Dunne says the Liberal


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