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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 12 Hansard (Thursday, 22 November 2007) . . Page.. 3787 ..

from violence and the fear of violence. But ending violence against women is no easy task. It requires an end to discrimination against women, a change of social attitudes, law reform and support for women who have suffered violence in all forms.

However, the government is committed to working with all members of the ACT community to ensure that no matter how hard it is we are striving towards elimination of all violence. The ACT women’s plan, launched by the government in September last year, specifically identifies safe, inclusive communities as a key objective and guides government and community actions to achieve this. We have also enacted a Human Rights Act which enshrines in legislation equal rights and access to justice for everyone. The act protects the rights of all individuals, including women and girls, to personal security and liberty. But clearly we have much more work to do before that right becomes a reality.

Wearing a white ribbon is a public pledge never to commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women. It is a message to the perpetrators of violence that we are appalled by their actions, and I am proud to be wearing a white ribbon.

Public service—impact of federal election

MRS BURKE (6.20): I want to add a personal side about Mr Rudd’s proposal to slash the public service but I really must take Ms MacDonald up on a point she said. She may recall in this place—and I will leave her with this—that Jon Stanhope accused me of upsetting an Aboriginal member of our community. He said that her upset was probably heightened because of the fact—I cannot quote him verbatim—that I was from a foreign land, talked with a foreign accent and travelled on a foreign passport, which is absolutely ridiculous because I would not be in this place if I travelled on a foreign passport. So when Ms MacDonald has the hide to stand in this place and talk about the race card and racial slurs, she needs to look in her own quarter first.

Drop a brick on an ants’ nest and see how functional the public service will be if Kevin Rudd is allowed to send the public service to the four corners of Australia. That is what he is promising. Imagine Mr Rudd’s opportunity to pork-barrel by taking government departments to distant places. Will we see the department of foreign affairs operating from Ettamogah—or maybe from deep inside the Nullarbor Plain, or any other marginal seat in Australia? It would be amusing if it were not so serious. Not only are there people involved but also millions and millions of dollars—and Australia will lose Canberra as the home of the public service.

What will happen to the leases that are currently running on an enormous amount of office space in Canberra? What disruption will it cause to the families of public servants currently established in Canberra? They would be forced to sell their homes under duress; the market will have the value of their homes over a barrel. They will be forced to sell at fire sale prices. Of course, the other aspect of this is that if those forced to move have children the children will have to adapt to a new school in a new place that was not of their choosing. What will happen to the parents and grandparents they leave behind? Will they have to move as well, to be with the family they always anticipated would be around them to help as they grow old, to give them companionship as they age?

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