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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 12 Hansard (23 November) . . Page.. 3866..


MR SPEAKER: I am the one who says it is quitting time here.

MR HARGREAVES: Mr Speaker, with your leave and the leave of the Assembly, if it is helpful I will attempt to answer Dr Foskey's question. I am quite happy—just for the ease of the exercise.

MR SPEAKER: You have my leave, Mr Hargreaves. I do not know about the rest of the Assembly. But go on.

MR HARGREAVES: I will be happy to answer Dr Foskey's question in detail, but I am afraid she is going to have to give me a bit more detail than this. We have 11,500 tenants. She is talking about the people in multiunit complexes. I do not know which multiunit complexes she is talking about. They are different in size. The brand new ones only have about six units in them and some of them have a couple of hundred. If Dr Foskey would like to give me a detailed question, I would be only too pleased to give her a detailed answer.

Industrial relations—women workers

MS PORTER: My question is to the Minister for Industrial Relations, Mr Barr. Minister, can you please inform the Assembly what the ACT government is doing to help support women workers under the Australian government's WorkChoices legislation.

MR BARR: I thank Ms Porter for the question. Before going into some of the detail of what the ACT government is doing to support vulnerable women workers—

Mrs Burke: Mr Speaker, I respect your ruling on this, but I feel that it may be out of order, given that a select committee is also looking into these issues.

MR SPEAKER: I think Ms Porter asked what the government was doing. The government is entitled to respond to the question. Members are entitled to ask the question. The mere fact that a matter is before a committee does not stifle questions in this place altogether. The member does not ask the minister to anticipate the recommendations of the committee or to interfere with the committee's role in any way. The question is in order.

MR BARR: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Before going into some of the detail, I think it is worthwhile highlighting to the Assembly some important statistics. Women comprise 44 per cent of the work force in Australia and over 70 per cent of the part-time work force. An average woman on a full-time wage earns only 84 per cent of a comparably skilled man's full-time pay in an ordinary week. One-third of female employees are employed on a non-permanent basis, with no job security and limited access to promotion and training. Forty per cent of working mothers have no leave entitlements. These statistics paint a stark picture of working life for many female workers in Australia. It is a cause of great sadness that in the year 2006 female workers are not experiencing equality of pay or conditions in Australian workplaces.


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