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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 4 Hansard (25 June) . . Page.. 1051 ..

Detail Stage

Bill, by leave, taken as a whole

Debate (on motion by Mr Stanhope) adjourned.

Sitting suspended from 12.32 to 2.30 pm


MR SPEAKER: I inform members of the presence in the gallery of members of a parliamentary delegation from New Zealand's House of Representatives Health Committee, led by Mr Brian Neeson, MP. On behalf of all members, I bid them a warm welcome


Status of Women

MR STANHOPE: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Chief Minister. In the run-up to the recent Territory election, the Chief Minister made a commitment to "make a real and measurable difference" to the status of women by the year 2000; yet the budget papers she delivered two days ago mentioned the word "women" only a handful of times. Can the Chief Minister say how this budget will impact on ACT women, apart from causing them further hardship and financial pain?

MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, I am very interested in the comment about hardship for women in the ACT. I have been interested lately in seeing the Bureau of Statistics figures on average weekly earnings in the ACT, which I have to say, as a woman, I have been very excited about. What they show is that the average weekly earnings of women are increasing at a significantly greater rate than the average weekly earnings of men. So, maybe it is men who have a financial hardship problem. Mr Speaker, that certainly does mean that women still have lower average weekly earnings than men; but in the ACT we are catching up very quickly. In fact, increases for women are significantly outstripping those for men and, of course, average weekly earnings in the ACT are outstripping those in the rest of Australia. So, I think that is an extraordinarily good outcome for women generally.

Mr Speaker, during the election campaign I put on the table a very definite policy with regard to women - or a set of directions for women. One of them was to set up our new Women's Consultative Council, which is very much in its final stages at this moment, with a lot of interest from various women's groups around the ACT. I am confident that we will again have a very capable Women's Consultative Council. We also indicated that we believed that it was important to have a young women's consultative group, which would probably run under the Women's Consultative Council, to ensure that younger women had a real input into government.

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