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Thursday, 5 March 2015
Page: 1328

International Women's Day

Senator MOORE (Queensland) (14:26): Mr President, this is not a point of order but they may yet come. My question is to the Minister representing the Prime Minister, Senator Abetz, in the capacity of Senator Cash as assistant minister for immigration.

Senator Abetz: Mr President, if I may assist: Minister Cash has made arrangements and that is why it is absolutely appropriate for me to take full responsibility. Senator Payne, who I understand has been briefed, would be the appropriate minister.

Senator MOORE: My question now goes to Minister Payne. I would like to know: has the Minister assisting the Prime Minister for Women, Senator Cash, received an invitation to the Queensland LNP's International Women's Day breakfast at the men's-only Tattersall's Club? Noting that women are only allowed to enter this club at the invitation of a man, will Minister Cash—should she be there—be chaperoned by one of the men's-only Queensland coalition Senate team?

Senator PAYNE (New South WalesMinister for Human Services) (14:28): I would like to thank Senator Moore for that compelling question on a very serious matter of policy—not. I am not aware of whether the minister has or has not received an invitation. I will take that on notice.

Senator MOORE (Queensland) (14:28): Mr President, I ask a supplementary question. Does the minister agree with the Prime Minister for Women on a compelling point of policy when he says that the decision to hold an International Women's Day breakfast in a men's-only club is 'fantastic' and an example of how the LNP is 'smashing the glass ceiling'?

Senator Ian Macdonald: How many times have you been there? Five? Eight?

Senator PAYNE (New South WalesMinister for Human Services) (14:29): I understand Senator Moore has just acknowledged that she has been a visitor to the club herself, so I am not entirely sure of the logic she is pursuing in asking this question. What I can say—and I am sure Senator Cash would concur if she were here—is that I would like to acknowledge the Prime Minister's amazing support in assisting ministers like Senator Cash and me in doing the best job we possibly can and making sure the glass ceiling has as many knocks through it is possible.

Senator MOORE (Queensland) (14:30): Mr President, I ask a further supplementary question. Does the minister agree with the Foreign Minister that a lack of female leadership in social, political and economic sectors contributes to gender inequality? Has the minister advised the Prime Minister, the Minister for Women—who has said that the appointment of only two women to the cabinet reflects the capacity of women in his party room—that having the assistance of only two women in the cabinet is an effective way for women to break the barriers and the glass ceiling? (Time expired)

Senator PAYNE (New South WalesMinister for Human Services) (14:31): I am not familiar with the specific quote from Minister Bishop. On a day when we are looking at the reference to participation rates in the Intergenerational report, we have to take the opportunity to increase the participation of women in the workforce. The report makes that very clear. The government is taking that very seriously, most particularly with the work that Minister Morrison is now doing in the childcare space following the production of the Productivity Commission report.