Page 735 - Week 03 - Tuesday, 8 March 2005

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foreign areas of influence. It attempted, in the Commission on the Status of Women meeting, to amend the passages in the Platform for Action on reproductive rights, stalling progress for several days. Due to concerted action from women all around the world and from other governments, including our own, the US has now withdrawn that amendment, joining the other 99 governments’ consensus to uphold the Beijing Platform for Action. I am very proud that Australia held firmly to the Beijing Platform for Action and I acknowledge those women in the federal Liberal government who have held some of their more outspoken men down at various times lately.

Nonetheless, it was identified that globally women are worse off than they were 10 years ago. There are two areas of concern. The first is the lack of commitment of many governments to maintain women’s bureaus. For instance, we have seen the unravelling and disempowering of our own Office of the Status of Women. We have also seen the impact of neo-Liberal economic policies, which have reduced government’s ability to provide the essential services of health, education and housing. Women’s poverty has increased and, of course, their workload, because they are the ones who pick up the tab, usually.

However, there is some good news. Security Council resolution 1325, which was won by organisations like the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, has called for women to be included in all areas of peacekeeping. Now it is up to governments to implement it.

From our own point of relative comfort, we should consider the Turkish women, rallying for their rights, who were attacked by police with batons and tear gas. A gentle protest from this crossbencher: sitting weeks should, where possible, be timed not to coincide with weeks of International Women’s Day, because it means I have to miss a lot of events.

Kaleen north oval

MR STEFANIAK (Ginninderra) (4.49): Mr Speaker, I rise to mention a matter in relation to a Canberra sporting group. Unfortunately, this is quite a common occurrence at present and I wonder if it is really necessary.

The North Canberra Bears are one of the original junior rugby league teams in the minor league and have been since about 1962. I think I remember playing against them in 1968 in the under-16s and getting a try from dummy half. They have been around that long. They had, for the last 14 years, a very good home ground at Kaleen north oval. They actually have a canteen there which they have done a lot of work on themselves—a couple of container sheds with their gear there—and they rely on that basically for a lot of their income. They make about $4,000 a year from the canteen.

They actually share the oval there—and until a couple of weeks ago it was a very nice oval—with two primary schools and a cricket club. For about the last month or so, they have had immense difficulty about what they are going to do for this year, because basically the water was turned off in November. When they went to book the oval, in early February, they were left up in the air. They were given very few options. One option was to relocate to somewhere in north Canberra and share an oval with another junior rugby league club, East Canberra, which was problematic, to say the least.

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