Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 3 Hansard (7 March) . . Page.. 806 ..

MRS BURKE (5.20): Mr Deputy Speaker, it is clear to me that the government is committed to women's issues. There is a need to continually emphasise the fact that the achievements and participation of women are vital in making our community a better place for all of us. We can actively see the government's commitment to improving the status of women through policy development and the provision of services that meet the diverse needs of all women in the ACT.

It was such a commitment of this government that resulted in the development of the first ACT women's action plan, a plan that is intended to make a real difference to access, equity and representation for women in the ACT. The government is committed to their goal of equal representation of women on boards and committees. To this end, a great initiative has been the production of a leaflet, Women in the ACT-come on board, which is currently being sent to households in the ACT.

I would certainly agree with Mr Moore that there has been an excellent response to this initiative, with many women now believing in themselves and their abilities to nominate for positions on boards. As one of two female members in this place, I reaffirm the importance of addressing women's issues for the good of all women in the ACT.

Mr Deputy Speaker, I am unsure about one thing-the Labor Party's true position on women's issues. In his inaugural speech on 19 March 1998, Mr Stanhope made reference to the departure of two female Labor Party members, leaving the Labor caucus without a woman member. Mr Stanhope went on to say:

... a situation which causes us great concern and which is a matter of great regret to us.

But what are they going to do about it, to coin a well-used phrase? He continued to say that he was confident that at the next election at least half of Labor's team of candidates will be women and we will again have women representing the ALP in this place. That is nice but can Mr Stanhope confirm with me was or was not the ALP secretary, Michael Kerrisk quoted in the Canberra Times on 28 July 2000-

MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: Mrs Burke, would you look at the motion and make sure you are speaking to it, please.

MRS BURKE: I believe I am, Mr Deputy Speaker. Was it Mr Kerrisk who was quoted as saying that "his priority was to re-elect the six Labor men currently in the Assembly"? Mr Kerrisk denied the quote, although he did go on to say that party members should not be surprised if the six men were re-elected.

Then late last year, I think on the ABC, Mr Kerrisk was quoted as saying:

If we don't elect more MLAs then women have very little or no chance of getting into the Assembly.

Is this a new form of affirmative action? And then, Mr Deputy Speaker, Mr Kerrisk went on further to say-

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .