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Wednesday, 11 May 2011
Page: 2338


Senator HANSON-YOUNG (South Australia) (18:29): I would like to ensure that it is on the record that the Greens will not be supporting any of the coalition's amendments. I realise that they are being moved in two blocks—or at least that is my understanding, Senator Brandis. There is no way that the Greens will be supporting these amendments. The justification being put forward by Senator Brandis on behalf of the coalition is simply an attempt to find any which way to get out of the fact that for far too long Australian working women in particular have wanted this parliament to accept that there is discrimination in our workplaces—whether it is based on gender, whether it is based on our family responsibilities or whether it is based on the age of a woman, particularly if she is in a family situation. It does happen, and that is why there was an inquiry into this issue. For far too long Australian women have been asking for this parliament to take this issue seriously, and to come in here and hear the opposition try to justify the idea that somewhere there should be a loophole for employers to continue to discriminate is absolutely appalling.

The other issue is the coalition's attempt to ensure that the Human Rights Commission does not get the support it needs to make sure that these new laws are monitored and looked after. We know what the coalition's view on the Human Rights Commission is: you hate it. You do absolutely everything you can to tear the commission down, whether through this bill or any other bill. You spend your entire time during Senate estimates ripping into the Human Rights Commission just because you feel like it and not because of anything it does wrong.

So let us not waste time here in the Senate. This is a piece of legislation that Australian working women in particular have been calling for for a very, very long time, and it is about time that we just got on with it, got it passed and got over this pettiness being put forward by the coalition.