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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 1 Hansard (11 December) . . Page.. 54 ..

MS TUCKER (12.25): I obviously support the establishment of this select committee. I just want to make the comment that I think this is a recognition that policy is not gender neutral. I am interested to know what the government is intending to do in terms of some kind of gender analysis of legislation, policies and programs that it intends to introduce.

This select committee will be looking at, as I understand it, the differential impact of existing policies and programs on women. There is obviously a place to also subject any proposed policies and legislation to a gender impact analysis. I would hope that this government will do that. I am not sure whether that ties in with work of the select committee but it also needs to be done.

MS MacDONALD (12.26): I rise to support the motion. Mr Hargreaves has already referred to the Labor Party having moved over a significant amount of time towards the establishment of this committee. From my personal experience, I am particularly pleased to see that the select committee will be looking into equality of opportunity.

In my time working for the Australian Services Union I saw many occasions when women were denied career progression, and that is one issue that I think this committee could quite well look at. I am also interested in the fact that the committee will be looking at barriers to participation in numerous activities that the government performs. I am pleased to see that the committee will be able to look at any other related matters and I think this would cover what Ms Tucker has just raised.

MR HARGREAVES (12.28), in reply: In closing the debate, I also would like to acknowledge the work of the members of Emily's List and the Labor Party Status of Women Policy Committee who actually put some form and some structure around the Labor Party's thinking in this regard.

As a male wanting to encourage this audit, if you wish, I want to see how thick this glass wall is around women-the wall that women keep trying to break but cannot do so. It doesn't matter where they look, there is always some glass wall. If we can identify where it is and how thick it is, then maybe we as an Assembly can actually destroy it.

I think it is absolutely vital that we have the attitudinal and cultural change. This needs to happen if we are going to get anywhere near paying other than lip service to equality and access to opportunity. We need to start addressing some of the serious social questions-questions such as what are we doing as a government about the social isolation that women suffer and what are we doing about employment opportunities within the public sector in real time? Instead of just talking about statistics, we have to talk about what we are doing in real time. We have to consider what are we actually doing about cleaning up the language.

Mr Speaker, I commend this motion to the Assembly. I thank the opposition for their support and, like Mr Humphries, I am very sincerely looking forward to the report.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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