Page 733 - Week 03 - Tuesday, 8 March 2005

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . .

All will be aware, therefore, that today the Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Denmark have arrived in Canberra and, on behalf of the opposition, I would certainly like to welcome them to the ACT, particularly because what they have done today is highlight the excellent institution that the Australian National University is. The first function they carried out upon arrival in Canberra was to go to the ANU and sign a document linking the ANU to two Danish universities, because they see the value of being linked to such an excellent institution, the best university in the country.

I understand there were a large number of people both at the airport and at the university. The Princess received bouquets of flowers. Apparently somebody gave her a pile of Fruit Tingles as well, with a little bluebell badge on it, tied up in pink ribbon. I think it is the sort of joy and pleasure that many people—and not necessarily monarchists—derive from the royals and we should be grateful for their visit and for highlighting Canberra.

International Women’s Day

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella) (4.40): Today, as we have noted in the Assembly, is International Women’s Day. Celebrations are occurring today and throughout this week in the ACT, across Australia and across the world to recognise and celebrate the economic, social, cultural and political achievements of women.

Since the inception of International Women’s Day in 1911, the women’s movement and supporters have achieved outcomes unimagined at the turn of the century. The achievements of some extraordinary women in the ACT are recognised in the ACT Women’s Honour Roll and in the ACT International Women’s Day Awards that Minister Katy Gallagher will present tonight.

Today is about celebrating the achievements of these women and the achievements of all women but also about continuing the struggle for equality in our community and our society. Australia has historically played an important role in the formal recognition of women’s rights. Women were accorded suffrage across Australia in 1904, though all indigenous women did not receive the vote until the referendum of 1967.

The disparity in the achievement of women’s suffrage highlights an important consideration in our celebration of the achievements of women in all spheres of our society, our economy and our community. These achievements were the result of agitation and organising by women across the world and across the nation to be accorded formal rights, to be recognised as full participants in the development of our society and to work to achieve that participation in reality.

Governance does not exist in isolation and it is the work of those women who organised, and continue to organise, in protest and activism that we celebrate today. We in government must be responsive. The work of women activists in our community and across the country is invaluable to our work in the Assembly as it provides an unparallelled insight into the real concerns, needs and demands of women at the grassroots. The achievement of indigenous suffrage at referendum in 1969 was a result of many years of indigenous activism and agitation, demanding the full rights of citizenship and recognition.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . .