Page 4219 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 24 October 2018

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6,000 people attended the ACT Seniors Week events. They delivered 68 talks and information sessions and assisted over 800 individuals through their housing options advisory service. And I would like to mention their little library and their street library, which have been very successfully installed in the past year.

I also thank the sponsors of COTA ACT who have made their year possible: Beyond Bank, Capital Chemist, ActewAGL, the flexibus service, Goodwin Aged Care and, of course, the ACT government.

I would like to thank and congratulate those who were on the board in the past year, including Bruce Shaw, Rick Lord, Paul Feldman, Ruth Martin, Jean Geise, Kirsten Cross, Richard Cumpston and Ewan Brown. I would like to congratulate Rick Lord, Michael Flynn and Ron Jelleff, who today were elected to the board for a two-year term.

I would like to thank Ewan Brown, who today did not recontest a position on the board after four years on the board and three years as president. Ewan and the rest of the team at COTA ACT worked tirelessly to make sure that COTA was going in the right direction, that those who needed services and information were getting them and that COTA continued to passionately campaign for our older Canberrans.

Finally, I would like to thank Jenny Mobbs and all of her staff in the COTA ACT office. These staff are there on the front line providing information and services to older Canberrans. They achieve an amazing amount of work for older Canberrans. Thank you to COTA ACT for the work they do for older Canberrans.

Girls takeover parliament

MS ORR (Yerrabi) (5.23): 11 October marked the International Day of the Girl Child. To mark and celebrate this important day I participated in the Jasiri Australia girls takeover parliament program, along with many other members of this place. The girls takeover parliament program is designed to support young women aged 13 to 25 to dismantle barriers to political participation and to encourage young women to pursue political careers. The program aims to give young women the opportunity to gain important skills in order to pursue political careers or public leadership positions by pairing young women with politicians. This year the program took place in the ACT, Western Australia and across the Pacific to support the wider participation of women in politics across the country and the Pacific region.

While the ACT is one of the few legislatures around the country to be leading the way with female representation, overall across Australia women are under-represented. In our national parliament women make up only 31 per cent of MPs and senators and approximately 19 per cent of positions on Australian boards. A 2016 Plan International Australia survey also found that five in six girls said that they thought they did not have the same opportunities as boys, and half of young Australian women said that they believed their gender was the biggest factor holding them back from becoming leaders.

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