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

Page.. 2126..

I move:


"(3) calls on the ACT Government to:

(a) analyse the Supporting Working Parents: Pregnancy and Return to Work Review in regards to possible implications for employees in the ACT;

(b) identify any actions that the ACT Government may take in response to the Pregnancy and Return to Work Review in order to reduce pregnancy discrimination in the ACT; and

(c) report back to the Legislative Assembly by the first sitting day in November 2014.".

MRS JONES (Molonglo) (4.39): I support Mr Rattenbury's amendment. I agree that it is good to have any actions that the government will accept to work harder on this issue. In summing up, the Sex Discrimination Commissioner reported on this the week before last, and today I am calling on the government to analyse exactly how widespread the problem is here in Canberra. Given that in the federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner's report one in two women have experienced it and, of those, 22 per cent leave work as a result, clearly our statistics are not managing to capture most cases. Again, that is why I welcome Minister Rattenbury's amendment.

I am really glad that this issue is being brought out into the light—that it is completely unacceptable for women to experience harassment or discrimination associated with pregnancy, childcare responsibilities and family responsibilities. The discrimination has a negative impact on the physical and mental health of mums and families as well as the financial security of women. Mothers who are in the workforce are working full time on our present and on our future simultaneously. Children are our future.

Before having children, women often have many opportunities in the workplace, and this report shows that for at least half of those women their opportunities are severely limited afterwards. This is not acceptable. Women should be able to have the babies that they want without being forced to choose between their baby and their job. They should not lose jobs, be ridiculed or stripped of choices around work hours and opportunities.

Today I call on the government to acknowledge the need to work more on identifying and resolving this kind of discrimination in Canberra. I call on the community to actively help make the change. It is the responsibility of all of us to lift the treatment of women and parents and to eliminate this demeaning situation. If you notice it, say something about it. If you know someone having a baby, back them up. Speak positively in your workplace and in your community about mothering and family. Enough of belittling and undervaluing mothers in our society! I agree with the amendment and I welcome the support.

Amendment agreed to.

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