Page 3945 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 20 September 2017

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Efforts to support the health, wellbeing and inclusion of women are necessary and vital. This includes looking at specific policy issues through a gender lens so that we can truly see how they impact on women, men and the trans community. Sometimes the impact is the same, but most often the impact is different if we take the time to examine how it could be different. This extends not only to dedicated employment services, for example, or promoting opportunities for women in sport but to seeking out and including women in consultation, in program development and in planning. When women participate more, they bring unique and helpful perspectives to the issue under discussion. We are not just losing the voice of someone who would say the same things as everyone else in conversation if we do not listen to women or to the trans community; we are losing the voice of a different viewpoint.

Of course, this applies across all areas of marginalisation. There are many people in our community who fit into more than one of the groups listed in Ms Cheyne’s motion. That is my point: there is the issue of intersecting or multiple disadvantages. You might be gay, a woman, an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander; you could be a person with a disability who is from a migrant or refugee background. You could be a single mother. You could be escaping from violence, with mental health issues, including being suicidal. You might be a carer with a disability. You might be a carer looking after a child with disability, which is, I am afraid, all too common an experience. You might be working insecure shifts. You might be in the hospitality industry and recently had your penalty rates reduced. For these or many other reasons, you might be at a significant financial disadvantage compared to the average Canberran.

I can only emphasise that it is important to examine crossover linkages between government strategies, programs and initiatives to ensure that they are accessible to all. This is how we promote social inclusion. The ACT Greens have always had a focus on social inclusion. Two of the basic values that all members subscribe to are grassroots democracy and social justice. Grassroots democracy is about inclusion. It is about hearing the voices of everyday people to inform our policy. Social justice is about the equal distribution of opportunities and resources.

This is why we have negotiated to include a number of items in the parliamentary agreement, including but not limited to developing a carers strategy; establishing the office of mental health; reducing gambling harm through mandatory pre-commitment and other initiatives; creating a new policy unit for disability; establishing a multicultural advisory board; increasing community access to government facilities; establishing a drug and alcohol court; funding dedicated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and language programs; and developing an affordable housing strategy. All of these items in the parliamentary agreement are designed to promote community cohesiveness, reduce social exclusion and ensure equal access to services for marginalised and disadvantaged Canberrans.

The Greens will continue to put the community first during this Ninth Assembly, and we will continue to speak up against racism, homophobia, sexism, ableism and ageism. We will continue to advocate for environmental, social and community programs and infrastructure for the people in our city who risk falling behind or being invisible because they cannot equitably participate in the life of our community. Madam Assistant Speaker, I support this motion.

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