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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 1 Hansard (13 February) . . Page.. 73 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

is more often the case that the reduction of penalty and overtime rates has occurred in women's work.

Individual contracts or Australian workplace agreements assume that an equality of bargaining power exists between any employer and any employee. Many women work in insecure and low paid forms of employment and have little bargaining power.

The point I want to make here is that we know that women are suffering disadvantage in this country. We know that women disproportionately carry the burden of poverty. We know that Mr Humphries has said that he is interested in integrating these concerns into his form of arrangements in the public service and so on. I want him to bring these different concerns together when he responds.

I am very concerned that we are going to see a tokenistic response to women's issues in this town. I believe that the way in which you arrange the public service and the way that the Liberal Party responds to labour issues are totally contradictory to any genuine interest in the place of women in our society.

While it is all very well at the moment for Mr Humphries to say that he is doing particular things and tinkering at the edges, we have to look at the structural policy position of any party when they are talking about these issues. We have to be very careful that we do not get these little bandaid responses because if we do not look at the structural issues we are not going to get a change across the Australian society.

MR HUMPHRIES (Chief Minister, Minister for Community Affairs and Treasurer) (4.39), in reply: Mr Deputy Speaker, I have to express some disappointment at the response by members to the announcement of the range of initiatives which I have outlined today. A number of members have certainly in a very emphatic fashion made insistent claims on the government in the last couple of years to fully address a range of issues which have been placed before it. So I think it is a bit unfortunate to have a range of comprehensive measures which the government has put on the table being described as tinkering around the edges or bandaid solutions.

I would say to members in this place who do not believe for some reason that this is not adequate, that we should have gone further and that we should have done other things: tell us what it is that they think we should be doing.

Ms Tucker: I just did.

MR HUMPHRIES: You made reference to one issue, Ms Tucker. Mr Deputy Speaker, this mob opposite are the alternative government. The only thing that we hear from them is why they do not agree with what we propose to do or what we have done. We never seem to hear what they are actually in favour of. We have been asking for six years what you are going to do and we have not been told anything. The last time the opposition put on the table a substantive policy document-Working Capital-was over three years ago. I think we are entitled to ask ourselves now: what are the policies which you say we ought to be putting forward?

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