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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 1 Hansard (11 December) . . Page.. 52 ..

MR HARGREAVES (continuing):

(2) the Committee be composed of

(a) one Member to be nominated by the Government;

(b) one Member to be nominated by the Opposition; and

(c) one Members to be nominated by either the Australian Democrats or the ACT Greens;

to be notified in writing to the Speaker within 2 minutes following conclusion of the debate on the matter.

(3) the Committee report by the last sitting day in November 2002.

(4) the foregoing provisions of this resolution have effect notwithstanding anything contained in the standing orders.

I have amended clause (2) of the motion in relation to the timing of the notification of nominations. The reason for that is that if we go past 12.25 there would be all sorts of timing issues. Hopefully we won't. I was debating whether it would be three minutes, four minutes, five minutes or six minutes.

Mr Speaker, I am delighted to be able to move this motion to create a select committee on the status of women in the ACT. This is part of a long process which I believe the Labor Party embarked on some time ago and we are hoping that that sort of spirit has been engendered in the Assembly.

I know that Ms MacDonald and Ms Gallagher have been very heavily behind raising this issue of women and the barriers to access and equity that women have experienced within the Labor Party for many years. I was going to extol all the virtues of the Labor Party: of how we have done wonderful things by creating the first ACT women's council; the birthing centre-you would remember that, Mr Speaker; women's employment strategies; and a range of other things. Suffice to say that what we want to do in this select committee is identify with government programs what it is that the government is doing really well, and start to celebrate them; identify those things that it is not doing so well and come up with some recommendations for change; and start an attitudinal and cultural change within the government sector. I think that is going to be the measure of success at the end of the day.

Mr Speaker, this is a sign that Labor is actually putting some action behind the rhetoric and we are going to do something about it. I won't go on and read this whole speech. Suffice to say that I recommend to the Assembly the creation of the select committee.

MR HUMPHRIES (Leader of the Opposition) (12.21): Mr Speaker, the opposition will support this motion. Obviously a commitment was made by the government in campaigning in the recent election and we want to keep them to the promises they made. Therefore, Mr Speaker, we are happy to support this motion.

I think it is possible to demonstrate an almost lineal improvement in the availability of programs and services offered to women in the ACT in the 12 years of self-government. There have certainly been some significant advances in that time. I think bodies such as the Women's Consultative Council and the like have done some very important work in highlighting areas of need and helping governments over the period of those 12 years to address those needs.

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