Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 02 Hansard (Wednesday, 24 February 2010) . . Page.. 664 ..
has dwelt on that. There is a long-established Office for Women, there are policies to advance the rights and roles of women in our society, and a range of programs to assist women across a broad spectrum of activities and situations. There are a number of policies that the minister touched on, some of them more successful than others. She touched on the return to work loans scheme, which has always been, very sadly, undersubscribed in the ACT. And I am not sure that the microcredit approach will be any more successful. I hope that I am wrong about that.
For similar reasons, I propose that we take out subparagraphs (b) and (c), because we actually already do these things. I am surprised by Ms Burch’s complete disregard for and perhaps lack of knowledge of the work of her own department; that she would agree to do these things, apparently sight unseen.
As I have said, every year we have a motion because we are approaching International Women’s Day. And it is usually, but not always, a crossbench member who brings this matter forward. Unfortunately, I think that this year’s effort is perhaps the poorest that I have seen. Ms Hunter’s motion could have been visionary for the role of women in our community. It could have identified where there are unaddressed policy gaps for women in our community. It could have celebrated the many achievements of women in our community. Here I acknowledge one extraordinary woman: Australia’s senior of the year for 2010, Maggie Beer. Ms Beer is a prime example of the intelligence, strength, courage and beauty of women, which I referred to earlier when I quoted from the Women for Women website.
But Ms Hunter’s motion today does none of those things. It is neither celebratory nor assertive. Some might regard it as a bit of an insult—or at least a damp squib.
At 6 pm, in accordance with standing order 34, the debate was interrupted. The motion for the adjournment of the Assembly having been put and negatived, the debate was resumed.
Sitting suspended from 5.57 to 7.30 pm.
MS HUNTER (Ginninderra—Parliamentary Convenor, ACT Greens) (7.30): I am absolutely gobsmacked by the words that came out of Mrs Dunne’s mouth on this motion that I put here today. What was Mrs Dunne thinking? There were opinions that came out of Mrs Dunne’s mouth this evening that my grandmother was challenging in the 1940s and 1950s, and she was a woman who was a president, founding member and long-serving member of many women’s organisations here in the territory. She also happened to be a Liberal Party member and candidate. She would be appalled at the assertions Mrs Dunne has made this evening.
Mrs Dunne should be ashamed to show her face at any of the events that will be held on International Women’s Day. To illustrate why, I would like to mention a few of those events. A number of the events are actually to do with this pay equity issue. There are a couple of breakfasts. There is certainly one where we are going to have Liz Broderick, who heads up the discrimination commission. We also have Tanya Plibersek speaking at that, along with the MP who chaired the House of Representatives committee inquiry into the issue of pay equity. There are a number of events—as I said, several—that are focused on this issue.