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Thursday, 6 October 1983
Page: 1445


Mr MACPHEE —My question is also directed to the Prime Minister. Having regard to the Prime Minister's commitment to consultation and consensus and to the fact that all Labor Premiers have broadly based women's advisory councils, why has the Prime Minister abolished the National Women's Advisory Council? How does he now propose to receive direct advice from women outside the bureacracy and the Labor movement?


Mr HAWKE —I appreciate the sense in which the question has been asked by the honourable member for Balaclava, because I know that, as distinct from many of his colleagues, when he asks a question he has a genuine interest in the matters to which he directs his attention. In regard to this issue, I was advised that the existing process of consultation had not been working satisfactorily. We decided to attempt another method of providing for consultation. Very fortunately, as distinct from the Opposition, we on this side of the House have many women members, and may I say what an excellent representative body they are . It has been suggested that an effective way of arranging for consultation through to the community-I say this very sincerely to the honourable member for Balaclava-would be for the women members of Caucus to constitute a group which would have the responsibility for this process of consultation. I hope and I believe that that process will prove effective. If we find that that process is not as effective as the previous method and that there is room for improvement, of course that improvement will be undertaken.