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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 12 Hansard (Thursday, 25 November 2021) . . Page.. 3726 ..

This is how we manage with one car. And we do not use that car a lot, because we share our household responsibilities. I am really glad I am in a position where I can do this. It must sound like a fantasy to many women, particularly single mothers. But I do not thank my partner for looking after his child and for cooking the meals. He is a father, and he eats too. It is his responsibility, and it is his role to do his share. But I understand that this arrangement is not common. I wish that these loads were shared. We also need to make it easier for trip-chaining and transport for those that carry this responsibility on their own. We should do all we can to make it easier for everyone.

I would like to congratulate Dr Paterson on her motion. The ACT Greens are happy to support her motion in the original form. And we are happy to welcome another great advocate for public and active transport.

MRS JONES (Murrumbidgee) (3.24): I rise today to add Ms Lawder’s comments to the debate, as she has had to leave for personal reasons. But before I do that, I would like to say that it is rare to have an academic turned politician—and, yes, it is unusual, but it is a factual report.

Ms Lawder’s comments:

I rise to speak to Dr Paterson’s motion, which calls on the government to note her Way recommendation report, seeks to incorporate the recommendations listed in the report, and notes that Dr Paterson welcomes the opportunity to remain in any considerations by the ACT government which relate to her report.

But now I would like to speak on how this motion impacts women in Canberra. I feel somewhat awkward about the nature of this motion and how it has found itself before the Assembly. Dr Paterson is a new member—the only new member elected for Labor, at the previous election. The fact that she has felt the need to write and publish a report, and then put this motion forward today, just to get her colleagues to listen to her, is concerning. I am not sure what sort of welcome Dr Paterson has received from her colleagues, but I would hope that naturally they would consider her concerns and allow her to be involved in any matter that she or her constituents were interested in. Perhaps this is something for those opposite to consider when they liaise with their colleagues in the future.

Whilst I think Dr Paterson has very good intentions with her Her Way report, I believe she has missed the mark. The vast majority of recommendations in Dr Paterson’s report are not gendered. The majority of her recommendations are real and practical steps that aim to create a better Canberra for those who choose to utilise active and public transport. It is a damning read, highlighting the government’s failure to provide an efficient public transport system. However, when viewed through the lens of gender, I believe these recommendations and the nature of this report is condescending towards women. To quote one of the women who responded to the survey, “It’s not women’s responsibility, nor obligation, to reduce congestion.”

We know that, due to additional care-giving responsibilities, women are more likely to make additional stops on their commutes, whether that is at the school for drop-off or pick-up, or to care for an elderly parent. Women are also more likely to work casually or part-time because of care-giving responsibilities.

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