Page 938 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 22 March 2017

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each other, and less emphasis on things. On this note I suggest that we could possibly follow Bhutan and have a national happiness index rather than a GDP, and hopefully this would lead to happier people, more equal people and less stress on our environment and our planet.

But I think it is important to note that we need to hang onto our wins and ensure that we do not go backwards. I think this has been an excellent motion, because it is important to continue our resolve and remain focused on these issues, and understand the links between gender equity, reduction in violence against women, and a general increase in economic prosperity and happiness for the world.

In the spirit of the International Women’s Day theme this year, we must be bold for change and we must work collectively across all political divides to ensure that gender equity gains are achieved, maintained and progressed. I am very pleased to be part of a tripartisan agreement on this motion.

MS BERRY (Ginninderra—Deputy Chief Minister, Minister for Education and Early Childhood Development, Minister for Housing and Suburban Development, Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, Minister for Women and Minister for Sport and Recreation) (5.57): I would like to thank Ms Cheyne for this important motion and her amendment to the motion, which goes to some of the issues that Mrs Jones has raised in this place.

I want to start by acknowledging some of the work that Mr Rattenbury has done as well around supporting women and gender equity. It also gives me a chance to talk about Minister Gentleman. I think some of the comments that Mrs Jones made about Mr Gentleman were a little unfair. Mr Gentleman has been a sole parent, has worked in multiple jobs, having to depend on penalty rates to raise a family. His experience has, I think, led him to have greater empathy for some of the issues that women struggle with and go through. I have appreciated his support in this place, and acknowledge his role as a white ribbon ambassador. We need to encourage men and our colleagues in this place to stand up and talk about women and gender equity as well. For all of that change to occur, we all need to be leaders and advocates on this issue.

As I outlined in my ministerial statement yesterday, it is fundamental that we continue to make gains in the area of gender equality in the ACT, and certainly we have talked about it in the first couple of weeks of this new parliament, often every sitting week and every sitting day. I do not think a day goes by where women’s issues are not discussed in some way, more than I have ever experienced before, and that is absolutely due to the fact that we have a majority of women elected to this Assembly. We know that the lens on issues that affect women is absolutely there because of more women being here. That is something that we should continue to celebrate and it is something that I really enjoy being part of.

All of these achievements highlight the importance and the value of all of us taking direct action, and this is something that the government has done through setting targets and mandating organisations to consult the office for women prior to board appointments being made.

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