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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 7 Hansard (6 August) . .

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(d) the ACT has a number of strategies in place that address pregnancy discrimination in a holistic way, including the ACT Public Service Respect, Equity and Diversity Framework, the ACT Public Service Code of Conduct and Enterprise Bargaining Agreements.".

MRS JONES (Molonglo) (4.30): I accept Mr Corbell's amendments.

Amendments agreed to.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo—Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, Minister for Corrective Services, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs and Minister for Sport and Recreation) (4.30): I would like to thank Mrs Jones for bringing this motion to the Assembly today. It is an important issue and one that has come to prominence in the last couple of weeks. The notion that women and men are discriminated against in the workplace as a result of their family commitments is an untenable one, especially in a society that values family, work and home life balance and sustainable workforces.

The notion that working while pregnant or engaged in raising a family is a privilege and not a right is also untenable in a modern, respectful society. Women who are pregnant and parents who are raising families are not looking for favours; they are looking to have their rights respected. They do not want to hide their plans for family or be secretive about their pregnancy, because working in an environment where that is required in order to protect their rights is not conducive to their wellbeing and work satisfaction.

The pregnancy and return to work national review was instigated by the federal Attorney-General's Department in July 2013. Its objectives were to provide national benchmark data and analysis on the prevalence, nature and consequences of discrimination at work related to pregnancy during or on return to work after parental leave. The review engaged with a range of stakeholders, including government, industry and employer groups, unions and workers, and provided a range of recommendations when the report was released on 25 July this year. The level of discrimination that was outlined in the report from the national Sex Discrimination Commissioner really was astounding. Elizabeth Broderick noted in her comments, when the report was released last month, that little had changed in the 15 years since the last assessment was undertaken.

The key findings in the report—and it is worth repeating them in this place—were that one in two mothers reported experiencing discrimination at some point during pregnancy, parental leave or on return to work; 32 per cent of all mothers who were discriminated against at some point went to look for another job or resigned; one in five, or 18 per cent, of mothers reported that they were made redundant, restructured, dismissed or their contract was not renewed either during their pregnancy, when they requested or took parental leave, or when they returned to work; and finally, discrimination has a significant negative impact on mothers' health, finances, career and job opportunities. On top of all of those findings, they found that 91 per cent of people did not report. That adds a whole, further layer to that set of quite astounding statistics.


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