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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 03 Hansard (Tuesday, 30 March 2021) . . Page.. 562 ..


40 years of working I have said over and again that change will not happen overnight. We must all be active participants in the fight for a fairer and better society.

What the minister has outlined this morning in her statement indicates progress towards a better and more equitable society, but there is still a long way to go. There are still a number of areas for improvement. I acknowledge the support for an increased number of women in traditionally male-dominated occupations such as construction. It is an excellent initiative. The leadership and female representation on boards is another excellent result. I think the minister outlined 49.2 per cent, which is a great result. I also acknowledge that we are listening to young people about how they would like to be taught about consent. But when I looked at the ACT Education Directorate website on resources for teachers, in the Respectful Relationships Education program for ACT government schools there is currently no mention of consent.

I would remind the minister that in the area of housing there is still a long way to go, including the gendered nature of the need for housing, high-needs housing—where people are waiting more than two years—and especially older women; what we have talked about as the approaching tsunami of older women’s homelessness. When I worked in the homelessness sector, from 2010 to 2013, we talked about the approaching tsunami of older women’s homelessness then, and we still have not adequately addressed the issue.

I remind the minister that, in relation to her own portfolio, the formal report of the review into the implementation of the Family Violence Act 2016 was deliberately delayed and hidden for a year because it was politically inconvenient for this government to release it, but I will talk more on that later when I speak to Ms Lee’s motion. The minister would do well to remember that it was this Labor-Greens government that voted against a poverty task force just a month ago, despite the harrowing fact that 38,000 Canberrans, including 8,000 children, live in poverty in the ACT; and there is the gendered nature of poverty in the ACT.

I was also interested to hear the minister talk about the Speaker convening a women’s parliamentary group. To my knowledge, that was a single morning tea. It was an invitation to a morning tea in honour of the largest female representation of elected members in any parliament in Australia. It was not quite a women’s parliamentary group.

I would like to remind women that, as we spoke about during estimates and annual reports hearings, we have a target of 40 per cent of women feeling safe in their own neighbourhood at night. That language has changed. My understanding is that that language is different to the national survey and that has helped towards improving the number of women feeling safe in their neighbourhoods alone at night. But let us not forget that that means that 60 per cent of women do not feel safe: 60 per cent do not feel safe in their own neighbourhood alone at night.

We talked about schools. They are often the places where societal norms are questioned and challenged; and that is absolutely true. Nevertheless, last year I heard that one of my granddaughters had a letter sent home from the principal talking about


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