Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 5 Hansard (13 May) . . Page.. 1867..
after itself. It wants to love its owners but its owners may be particularly cruel. Nothing is more sickening than that to a lot of people. I commend the bill to the Assembly.
Debate (on motion by Mr Wood ) adjourned to the next sitting.
Discrimination Amendment Bill 2004
Mr Stefaniak , pursuant to notice, presented the bill and its explanatory statement.
Title read by Clerk.
MR STEFANIAK (8.39): I move:
That this bill be agreed to in principle.
The Discrimination Amendment Bill 2004 is an important bill. There has been a lot of talk recently about the need for more male teachers. This bill inserts a new clause 34A into the exemptions section of the Discrimination Act, which provides for some positive discrimination where it is really needed. The classic example at present is education, but it could well be that there will be a need to have some positive discrimination for one sex or the other in employment or other areas in the future, and this bill will cater for that.
We in the opposition are motivated to bring this in because we see it as being crucially important at this stage in getting more male teachers and hiring more male teachers into our profession. We believe it is very important for schoolchildren in our schools-especially in our primary schools where there is a real problem-to have male role models during the formative years of their lives. It is particularly important because there is a lot of evidence of children not having a male role model until they get to high school.
Currently, my colleague Mr Pratt informs me-I think people would be aware of these figures-that only 25 per cent of the full-time equivalent of our government schoolteachers are male. The majority are concentrated in our secondary schools. About 25 per cent of the people employed by the Department of Education, Youth and Family Services are males.
Mr Pratt: Only in primary.
MR STEFANIAK: Mr Pratt says that there are fewer male teachers in primary schools. I think it is about 12 per cent. Last week I was told that three primary schools-Duffy, Ainslie and Macquarie-did not have a male teacher on the staff. There may well be more. That is undesirable but it is not uncommon. When I was education minister, there was often one male primary schoolteacher on the staff or sometimes none. From time to time there has been an imbalance between the sexes in specific professions. It is a simple fact of life.
When we were hiring teachers about four or five years ago now I can recall how many new teachers were applying for jobs in our education system. I think we had about 250 jobs on offer and about 950 young people-they were mainly young people-wanted to be teachers. Forty per cent of the applicants were males and 60 per cent were females. I remember saying to the then head of the department, "If we need males why