Page 780 - Week 02 - Thursday, 10 March 2011

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Estimates 2011-2012: Mr Hanson, Mr Hargreaves, Ms Hunter, Ms Le Couteur and Mr Smyth.

Motion (by Ms Gallagher) agreed to:

That the Members so nominated be appointed as members of the Select Committee on Estimates 2011-2012.

International Women’s Day

Discussion of matter of public importance

MADAM ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Ms Le Couteur): Mr Speaker has received letters from Ms Bresnan, Mrs Dunne, Mr Hanson, Ms Hunter, Ms Le Couteur, Mr Seselja and Mr Smyth proposing that matters of public importance be submitted to the Assembly. In accordance with standing order 79, Mr Speaker has determined that the matter proposed by Ms Hunter be submitted to the Assembly, namely:

The 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day.

MS HUNTER (Ginninderra—Parliamentary Convenor, ACT Greens) (4.07): Today I would like to highlight an important milestone, the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day, and on reflection I wonder whether, on balance, our achievements are more symbolic. How far have we really come in 100 years? What do we need to address now and into the future?

As a female parliamentarian in Australia and as a leader of a party, one would say things are looking good, especially with three female Green politicians out of four currently elected. The Greens are certainly ticking boxes in the ACT.

Across the last 100 years, there have certainly been noteworthy occasions, firsts for Australian women. In 1918 Ada Evans won the right to be admitted as Australia’s first female lawyer. In 1921 Edith Cowan became the first woman to be elected to an Australian parliament, the Western Australian Legislative Assembly. Dame Enid Lyons became the first Australian woman to be elected to the federal parliament, for the United Australia Party in 1943. It was not until 1962, however, that our Aboriginal sisters had the right to vote at all levels of government and in all states and territories for the first time.

In 1966 women were no longer required to resign from their jobs when they married. The marriage bar was lifted. In 1969 we saw the federal parliament legislate for equal pay with the equal pay for work of equal value act. Interestingly it was not until 1981 that marital rape was criminalised in New South Wales.

And 1987 saw Mary Gaudron become the first woman appointed to the High Court of Australia; 1989 saw Rosemary Follett become the first female head of a government in Australia when she was elected ACT Chief Minister. Quentin Bryce became the first female Governor-General in 2008, and in 2009 Anna Bligh became the first elected female Premier. The latest and largest coup rests with Julia Gillard, elected first female Prime Minister of Australia.

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