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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 11 Hansard (20 October) . . Page.. 3343..


MR STANHOPE (Leader of the Opposition) (11.00), in reply: Mr Speaker, I acknowledge that the Government and the Attorney indicated that they had proposed to proceed with legislation similar to this. It was at a time that I had already issued instructions and received a draft. Hence we have had this rush to legislate on breastfeeding. It is quite interesting that we both sought to proceed at the same time, or roughly the same time. I acknowledge the previous support that the Attorney has indicated on behalf of the Government for the need to ensure that women breastfeeding were not discriminated against.

I think the case has been made quite clearly and patently by Mr Humphries, Ms Tucker and me in relation to the importance of breast milk and breastfeeding to young children, and also the importance of us ensuring as a community that breastfeeding mothers are not discriminated against in any aspect or facet of their lives or the lives of their baby. This particular amendment to the Discrimination Act achieves that, to the extent that it protects women, whether they are at home, in the workplace or in public places. It protects them in circumstances in which they choose to meet their child's needs by breastfeeding.

I think this Bill is an important addition to our anti-discrimination legislation. As the Attorney has just indicated, it is a move that has been taken in some other jurisdictions. It is appropriate and timely that we take it here, and send the message to this community that this legislature also accepts the right of women to breastfeed their children without fear of discrimination as a result of simply meeting their child's needs in the best way possible. I thank members for their support.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Leave granted to dispense with the detail stage.

Bill agreed to.

SCHOOL BURSARS - REPAYMENT OF MONEYS

MR BERRY (11.02): I move:

That the Government repay all moneys deducted from the pay of school bursars as a result of the long running dispute with the bursars over pay and conditions.

This motion arises because of the ACT Government grinding their heel in the face of a small group of workers in our schools. These workers, about 29 of them according to a press release from the Chief Minister, are part-time workers, middle-aged women mostly, isolated in schools away from colleagues, and, of course, an easy target for a mean-spirited government. Mr Speaker, these workers have been carrying out the role


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