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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 8 Hansard (8 August) . . Page.. 2543 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

What are the retirement options of women who are doing unpaid work? The Office of the Status of Women talks about promoting the inclusion of gender equity benchmarks in relevant policies and programs throughout the commonwealth government. Obviously, it is critical to understand who is not working in doing that. The office talks about encouraging portfolios to include gender equity performance indicators in future policy. It says that economic self-sufficiency and security for women depends upon access to jobs, training and education, child care, equal pay, a fair division of family responsibility and adequate superannuation and income security. The office says that a work force that makes the most of its people and does not discriminate on the grounds of sex is essential for a well functioning economy and that economic security is essential to providing women with the ability to make choices about how they want to live their lives.

The question clearly is: how do these objectives work? How can you ensure that women who are, on the whole, taking on this unpaid work are going to be accommodated in all these essential areas for life? I have not seen any real commitment from any state or federal government at this point to apply a gender analysis to its policy development. There is an assumption across all governments that policy is gender neutral. Clearly, it is not. The federal government's approach to industrial relations is a good example. If you look at whom in particular is benefiting from or suffering under that government's industrial relations legislation, you will find that it is women. Women are least likely to be in an industrially strong union. Women are most likely to be in part time and casual work. Moving away from industrial relations and back to this motion, women are most likely to be working for nothing at all. We have to take account of that. It has to be integrated in a central way into any decisions made at a state or federal level.

MR WOOD (11.41): Mr Speaker, in briefly closing this important debate, I thank members for their very positive contributions. With you, I trust that in years to come the measures we have called for will be put into practice.

Amendment agreed to.

Motion, as amended, agreed to.

Midwives-affordable professional indemnity insurance

MS TUCKER (11.42): I move:

That this Assembly calls on the Government to take all necessary steps to ensure that affordable professional indemnity insurance is available to independent practising midwives working in the ACT, before their current insurance policies expire, and until a workable national solution is found and implemented.

This motion is about women having choice to determine who provides their care during pregnancy, when they give birth and during the immediate postnatal period. It is also about the government taking an active role in promoting the most appropriate and cost-effective care for the majority of women that can experience a normal pregnancy and birth.

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