Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 12 Hansard (14 November) . . Page.. 3664 ..
MS TUCKER (continuing):
It probably is the case that women's historical contributions to industry were not well documented, but I understand from Ms Dundas that it took her about 10 minutes to find 10 names when she went to the National Library-was it the National Library?
Ms Dundas: No, the library in this building.
MS TUCKER: The library in this building? So it was not, in fact, that difficult. It obviously was not that hard. Having to look harder is often a key issue with women's history-or the history of any previous underacknowledged group in our society. Invisibility is one of the core parts of discrimination. That is why there was a huge push to change phrases like "manning a booth"to "staffing a booth". When we unthinkingly allow invisibility to continue, we perpetuate discrimination. Language and the everyday signs we see shape our habitual views of the world. Making women and women's contributions visible in no way denigrates the contribution of men, and it is quite ludicrous to say we only value men by ignoring women.
It may not be necessary or practical to have an equal number of streets named after men and women in every new subdivision, but across a suburb there should be some attempt at balance. At present there is a definite imbalance, which the current instrument cannot on its own address, but it is important that this imbalance has been raised. As I have said, removing invisibility is an important step to removing discrimination, especially in non-traditional fields of work for women, such as this subdivision commemorates.
This amendment on its own will not redress the imbalance; it relates to only four of the 19 street names. I understand that this result came about through a process of discussion between the minister's office, Ms Dundas' office and my office and of consideration of the families of the men originally proposed to be commemorated in street names.
Ms Dundas has raised a very important issue for us here and for the names committee, and I thank her for raising it.
MRS DUNNE (3.45): Mr Speaker, the Liberal Party is pleased to support the motion brought forward by Ms Dundas. She has taken the initiative and pointed out to us that we should probably be more careful about what goes into our street names. It is the boldness of Ms Dundas' approach-in having the temerity to disallow one of these determinations-that should be encouraged.
On other occasions I have had reservations about some of the street names. I took it upon myself on one occasion to write to the minister about one of the street names in one of the Gungahlin suburbs because it was named after someone who was a known suicide. I thought that it was inappropriate that, although he might have been a sporting hero, he was also a known suicide and that that did not really send the right message. But I was given short shrift and did not pursue it at that time. I am encouraged by the fact that Ms Dundas is emboldened to pursue this when I was not on that occasion.
Although we have heard magnanimous words from the minister today, accounts of exchanges between Ms Dundas' office and Mr Corbell's office that I received previously make me think that perhaps we are seeing revisionist history today. The account that I heard was that there was a fair amount of what I would characterise as bullying from the minister. I heard that Ms Dundas was threatened that the minister would ensure that