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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 2 Hansard (4 March) . . Page.. 771..

MS GALLAGHER (continuing):

If someone nominated a woman who contributed at her local school or community organisation, as has been the case with many of the women nominated this year, then that woman's achievements would be considered equally alongside the achievements of women doing a number of other things. I think that over the next few years we will put in work to ensure that the awards process is very much on people's minds, so that women who are contributing in so many ways to their community and their family feel that they deserve to be nominated for an award as much as anybody else.

I will continue to look at ways to enhance that. We have had maybe 20 more nominations than last year. So we are going in the right direction but there is more to be done. I thank Ms MacDonald for the opportunity to talk about this important day. International Women's Day means a lot to me and I know it means a lot to women around the world.

MRS CROSS (4.27): I rise to speak in support of Ms MacDonald's MPI-the importance of recognising the contribution women make to our society, particularly on International Women's Day. I will not repeat a lot of the points made by my colleagues. It is interesting to see that, of the 10 male members in this Assembly, only two are in the chamber during this matter of public importance. This obviously continues to be a matter of public importance to women, while the men dismiss it as perhaps not so important. The contribution women have made to society has changed radically throughout recorded history.

Mr Wood: What about Tom Duncan?

MRS CROSS: Before I continue, I pay my respects to Mr Wood and Mr Duncan for being here to honour women. We know that, as the Clerk, Mr Duncan respects women. I am talking about the elected members of this place who represent the community. It is a good thing for you, Bill.

Mr Wood: I thank you for that but, if you are not here for some debate or other, does that mean you are not interested?

MRS CROSS: This is a matter of public importance on the importance of women in our society. The fact that there are no men from the opposition side and only one sitting on the bench on this side indicates to me that it is not so important to them.

Ms Gallagher

: Jon and Simon were here before.

MRS CROSS: Where is Mr Corbell? That is interesting, is it not?

Ms Gallagher: He was in here for the first half of the debate, and so was Jon.

MRS CROSS: Was he? Then I will criticise the opposition. Some of this has been cultural change and some is what I would prefer to call enlightened change. In Australia we have been more fortunate than most nations. Our history has afforded us the opportunity to accelerate whatever change we have made.

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