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Thursday, 9 February 2017
Page: 521


Ms CLAYDON (Newcastle) (13:36): I could not let this first week of the parliament for 2017 go by without a reflection on the apparent determination of this government to make invisible the important contributions of women to the social, economic and political life of this nation.

Just imagine how Australian girls and women feel as cameras pan across the government's frontbench in question time to see just two of the 18 seats occupied by Australian women now in 2017. But, worse still—and an issue close to your own heart, Mr Deputy Speaker—imagine if the cameras were to pan now up into the newly-made-over Federation Chamber, where we see the figures of four daunting, grey old men hovering across us in great gilded frames as we contemplate the issues before the nation?

I am not disputing the role of Billy Hughes, Isaac Isaacs, Frederick Holder and Egerton Lee Batchelor to the nation, but what I do dispute is the complete exaggeration of the historical importance of men at the complete expense of everybody else. Where is Rose Scott? Where is Bessie? Where is Enid Lyons? Where are the women who have helped shape all of the important economic and social reforms of this nation? That chamber no longer reflects the diversity of our nation and the diversity of our parliament. It is a— (Time expired)