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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 2 Hansard (6 March) . . Page.. 673 ..

MRS CROSS (continuing):

Mr Speaker, I did not mean this to be a speech simply about the women's liberation movement, but during the celebration of the 92nd International Women's Day on Saturday it is fitting that we remember our heritage and history as women. It is because of those women that we are here continuing the struggle today-and we know that it has been a struggle.

Mr Speaker, there is still a long way to go. The report of the Select Committee on the Status of Women in the ACT published last year by this Assembly is a comprehensive analysis of the issues facing and confronting us within the nation's capital. It is, from my perspective, compelling reading. Whether it is the decriminalisation of abortion, the provision of universal and publicly funded maternity leave, the prohibition of pregnancy discrimination or even the simple right to breastfeed a child in a legislative chamber, the women of Australia and the world are still not equal to our male counterparts.

Mr Speaker, this is an auspicious occasion and I would like to wish my fellow women MLAs and the women of the Australian Capital Territory a very happy International Women's Day.

MR SPEAKER: The discussion is concluded.

Cemeteries and Crematoria Bill 2002 (No 2)

Debate resumed from 12 December 2002, on motion by Mr Wood:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR CORNWELL (5.03): Mr Speaker, the cemeteries and crematoria legislation has had a rather long and chequered history. We now have before us bill No 2, which is a revamp of earlier legislation.

Mr Wood: Yes, your legislation, Mr Cornwell.

MR CORNWELL: Indeed, which also now takes into account issues raised by the Greens.

Mr Wood: Like what?

MR CORNWELL: I will explain. What began as a relatively simple update of existing legislation has been altered, and I will quickly identify a few things. Perpetual tenure of graves has been withdrawn if the right of burial is not used within 60 years. This is a similar law to that in New South Wales and I think it is a sensible idea. It would seem to me that people should not have grave plots in perpetuity on the grounds that, whilst we may be a wide, brown land, we do not have a great deal of land within our cities to allocate to an increasing number of cemeteries where grave plots can be reserved in perpetuity.

Of course, elsewhere in the world there are other means of doing this. The nature of the soil in New Orleans, for example, precludes people from being buried under the ground.

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