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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 6 Hansard (18 June) . . Page.. 1994 ..


: (Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Community Affairs and Minister for the Environment) (11.33): I'm very pleased to be able to speak to the motion. I endorse the sentiments expressed by my colleague John Hargreaves in relation to this motion. This is an important motion.

Issues around equality of women, of course, cover every aspect and every feature of community life and life within each of our communities. Significantly, those issues around opportunities for women to participate equally and to participate fully in sporting activity are a continuing issue of major concern and focus. Indeed, Mr Speaker, I think, in the context of the range of issues about discrimination or lack of equality of opportunity that women face, opportunities for women in sport continue to be one of the outstanding issues of continuing discrimination against women.

Progress has been made in achieving equality of opportunity in a whole range of areas. Amongst the last of the areas to receive the attention that it deserves and the level of equality that is required is the equal participation of women in sport, equal acknowledgment and coverage of women's sport, equal financial and other support for women's sport.

Whilst Mr Hargreaves' motion is a motion acknowledging the considerable achievements of the ACT women's AFL team in the recent national championships, the essential or fundamental issue at the heart of the motion is, of course, the need to ensure that we do achieve genuine equality of opportunity for women and girls in sport.

Mr Hargreaves has indicated how well the Canberra team did, coming third in the national championships. That's a very significant achievement. We have a national team participating at the highest level in their chosen sport, and, in the national championships of that sport, they achieved third place behind Victoria, the champions-I think Victoria have never been defeated in national AFL women's championships-and Western Australia. The ACT was indeed credibly competitive and the only team indeed to keep Victoria beneath 100 points. That is a very, very significant achievement.

Mr Hargreaves has given some indication of the financial support that the women's AFL team has received. Certainly we acknowledge that it's not significant, but it is growing. There is now some support where just two years ago there was none; there was no support at all for this women's national team. I do acknowledge, as Mr Hargreaves has, the significant sponsorship provided by the Canberra Labor Club to women's AFL in the ACT. That certainly is, of itself, very significant and I think a real indication of the role, of course, that clubs do play in community life in the ACT. It highlights the importance for us to acknowledge and recognise the important role of clubs as essential parts of the community, of keeping the community together and of enforcing and invigorating notions around social capital. It certainly highlights the drive that we need to continue to pursue in relation to equality of opportunity for women.

Having said those things, I think it is important in the context of a debate such as this to then ponder those other aspects of non-recognition of women's sport that we as a society and that we as a community here in Canberra really do need to make some greater inroads into. It is fair to look at the level of coverage of women's sport in the ACT as part and parcel of the same motion as Mr Hargreaves has raised. How much TV footage

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