Page 808 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 21 March 2018

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address—that is, women’s equality and the important role that all women play in the ACT. The Canberra Liberals celebrate diversity. We celebrate diversity of opinion as well, something rarely seen on the other side of the chamber. We also celebrate the diversity among our own team. We are diverse team and we welcome and celebrate women from all sorts of backgrounds.

We are proud to be the first Liberal Party room in Australia to have majority female representation and that the women in our team also come from very diverse backgrounds. For example, in our team we have Elizabeth Kikkert, born in Tonga, a mother of five children who, before entering politics, was busy raising her family and undertaking hands-on community advocacy. We have Elizabeth Lee, a former lawyer, whose parents migrated from Korea. Elizabeth was also a university lecturer and loved teaching young adults and helping them further their aspirations. And, of course, we have Giulia Jones, soon to be a mother of six, with her Italian heritage. Giulia has come from working in women’s advocacy and the union movement. My background is in community advocacy and I have worked in public, private and third sector organisations. Miss Burch comes from a private sector background.

The Liberal Party room is a very diverse party room. It is a very diverse representation not just of women but of people from a variety of occupations and cultural and linguistic backgrounds. We do not just talk about diversity; we live it, breathe it and put it into practice. We just do not expect that all women have the same opinions or aspirations, like those opposite. All opinions are welcome on our side.

The Canberra Liberals will continue to fight for the right for women to aspire to and achieve great successes in whatever role they choose, whether it is family life, work life, community life or a combination of any or all of the above. Women should and do have a right to choose what is success for them, and we should celebrate their choices. It is not right that any member here in this place chooses what is success for women out there, how they should think, act or speak, because every woman is different, and that is the way it should be.

We can help this by removing barriers for women to achieve their aspirations, particularly barriers in the workforce. My colleague the shadow minister for women, Mrs Jones, has long advocated, for example, for portaloos for women firies as well as proper facilities for breastfeeding mothers in the workplace. I am happy to see that after that lobbying the ACT government has audited all directorate buildings and installed locks on breastfeeding room doors so that mothers can feed and breast pump without fear of someone accidentally walking in on them. I know this is something that Mrs Jones has been working on with the federal government as well, and I look forward to seeing more action across Australian parliaments and departments.

In conclusion, we support the best intent of this motion to celebrate women, to see women succeed and to celebrate the successes of women in and from the ACT. I hope we will go on to be leaders in the field of supporting women’s aspirations and welcome diversity of opinion as well as aspiration. I thank Ms Cheyne for the opportunity to promote the common goals of all members in this place and promote the successes of women in the ACT.

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