Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Tuesday, 4 June 2013
Page: 5236

Mr BRADBURY (LindsayAssistant Treasurer and Minister Assisting for Deregulation) (18:12): I am certainly not getting into that one! I do want to acknowledge that I am outnumbered at the moment in the chamber, but this is not something unusual for me.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Ms Hall ): We accept your acknowledgement, Minister!

Mr BRADBURY: I grew up with three sisters and I have three daughters at home, so I am well and truly accustomed to being in that situation.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: That is how it is meant to be!

Mr BRADBURY: I thank the member for Page for her question. She is one of the outstanding representatives of this parliament, someone who very actively and effectively represents her local community, and I know that issues such as these are of great significance and great interest to her. Again, I thank her for her question.

The 2013-14 budget continues the Gillard government's commitment to supporting more Australian women into leadership positions, with additional funding of $4.3 million for BoardLinks, which will be over five years from 2011-12. The government established BoardLinks to improve the participation of women on boards because we recognise that improving leadership opportunities for women is fundamental to gender equality, and I can speak from experience in saying that. It is a very ambitious aspiration that we have as a government to deliver on that 40 per cent figure by 2015. It is something that I have always found to be quite challenging in the areas of portfolio responsibility that I have, because in the accounting and tax professions, quite often, we end up with a big list of men's names. That is not to say that there are not a huge number of very effective women out there that could contribute in the form of public service by serving on the various boards and in the positions that we need to fill.

I had the pleasure of appointing Teresa Dyson as the new Chair of the Board of Taxation. Teresa is someone who has impeccable credentials and ticks all of the boxes in terms of the person you would like to put in a position like that. Just to underline how important this position is: our current Commissioner of Taxation was the former Chair of the Board of Taxation—Chris Jordan. We have appointed him—another very good appointment made on merit. But the significance here is that Teresa was a very active, effective contributor on the Board of Taxation. The opportunity to promote her to that position will give her the opportunity to demonstrate the very obvious leadership capabilities that she has.

One of the challenges we have is ascertaining who the potential female candidates are. That is where BoardLinks has been a very effective tool. It is an effective tool which gives us the opportunity to bring together the various resumes and CVs of talented women who would be the sort of potential candidates we might be looking to embrace. That is a very helpful and useful thing—because, while people may not understand this to be the case, there are plenty of occasions where ministers and, through the cabinet process, the government will be looking to appoint individuals to positions and where the government begins with no particular view about who should fill those positions. We want a merit based approach. But, if the only applicants who end up on the briefing which comes up to the minister happen to be males, that is going to reduce the likelihood of having greater female representation. I think this initiative, BoardLinks, really does ensure that women with those capabilities and capacities we will be looking to call upon—to draft for the purposes of public service on the various board we are looking to appoint—are considered.

The member for Mackellar made a comment earlier about the Clean Energy Finance Corporation. That has a board. I did not even have to remind the member for Mackellar. She is very much aware of the commitment this government has made to ensuring that capable, effective women, with all of the talents that their male counterparts have, are given those opportunities to serve in senior positions on government boards. I think it is a great initiative. I thank the member for Page for her ongoing interest in these matters. We look forward to even more appointments of talented and effective women to government boards in the future.