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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 01 Hansard (Tuesday, 13 February 2018) . . Page.. 88 ..

This project’s success rests on first defining the needs of the people using the space, then looking at solutions, instead of the usual way around where you look at the technical solution first and then that determines the end result. And because Vienna has been so good it has been taken as part of the project for the United Nations’ human settlements program in its registry of best practices to improve living environments. This is just a small example of how using a gender lens or considering gender can make a difference. It would take much more than my speech today to touch on all the areas where it can be applied.

The point is that we need to actively seek out the views of women. There has been much research to suggest that women are less heard and less respected for their views. It is changing but we are still not there. We have to keep up the dialogue and make deliberate attempts to create awareness of why the system needs to change because it disadvantages us as women. And all our community, regardless of gender, will be improved and will benefit by this.

We have seen lots of examples of this, for instance at meetings. All too often a women can make a suggestion, it gets nowhere, but if a man makes the same suggestion everyone hears him. In particular, a joint study by Brigham Young University and Princeton shows that, at a mixed table, men will dominate the conversation, taking up 75 per cent of the conversation, and leave just 25 per cent of the talking to women.

In Canada the federal budget has a chapter 5, which is a gender-based analysis, and in Justin Trudeau’s words, “This means that any initiative we put forward looks at whether it is positive or negative for women.”

I would just like to say that I hope that all the women in the Assembly, and in fact all the men in the Assembly, regardless of their political alliances, will support attempts to ensure that gender differences are considered in policy and legislative reforms.

MS LAWDER (Brindabella) (4.49): I am pleased to talk on this issue today. It is an issue that affects not just us in the Assembly but many, many of our constituents. This morning we heard the Minister for Women’s ministerial statement about the work being done and that remains to be done to allow women to aspire to equality.

In our case, on our side, we focus particularly on equality of opportunity, and it would be remiss of me not to point out at this point that we are now the first Liberal party room in Australia with a majority of women members. We have achieved this together through encouraging women, removing any disadvantages those women may face in getting preselected and elected. Our party members, our women’s council and our MLAs have all worked together to encourage equality and opportunity for women, and to see many of these elected is now a fantastic result for us.

Of course, this has all been achieved without any heavy-handed or patronising approaches to force party members to fill targets. It is a credit to every Liberal Party member. What we find now is that we are reflecting the views of our community, as we always have, here on merit, whether it is through gender balance, diversity of background, culture, religion et cetera.

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