Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 3 Hansard (6 March) . . Page.. 680 ..
MR STEFANIAK (continuing):
Go back through history and look at the great advances in not only human rights but the rights of women. The British parliament freed slaves in 1807 and throughout the Empire in 1833. That was done largely through the efforts of the Royal Navy in chasing slavers and freeing slaves, both men and women.
Suttee in India-the practice of burning women on the death of their husbands-is another barbaric practice that was stopped only through British bayonets.
We still see so many instances of discrimination in some countries around the world and slightly more subtle forms of discrimination in some of the slightly more developed countries where a lot more can be done.
Conventions, I suppose, can help. I think we have seen some advances in most countries over the last couple of decades. A lot more needs to be done. Australia has nothing to be ashamed of. We are one of the countries that have led the way, and long may we continue to do so. This is so of most things to do with human rights. That is accepted by most thinking persons around the world.
The United Nations is not a perfect body by any stretch of the imagination, but I suppose conventions like these are better than having nothing whatsoever. I am not going to go into paragraph (3). Mrs Cross has amply explained why we need to support her amendment. It probably would be sensible, as has been mentioned by some of my colleagues, Mr Speaker, that when we come to vote on this motion we divide it seriatim.
That Mrs Cross' amendment be agreed to.
The Assembly voted-
Question so resolved in the negative.
MS DUNDAS (5.39): I am incredibly heartened that every single member of the Assembly voted on this issue. I think that is a very good sign.
A number of points have been raised in this debate, and I am almost at a loss to know where to start in addressing them. As was mentioned, this is Women's History Month, when we recognise women in history who are normally ignored in our schools in the teaching of history. We have to find women to look at in our history books so that we can explain to people growing up today that women are an important part of our society.