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Thursday, 28 May 1987
Page: 3506

Ms MAYER(1.55) —I wish to raise in this grievance debate my very real concern about Opposition attitudes-I can only say attitudes, as there is apparently no policy-about women. The conservative parties, it seems to me, see women, only as part of a traditional family, the least important part, and have failed miserably to develop forward thinking and positive policies for women. When it comes to looking at the difference between the offerings that are being made to electors let us look at the deeds, not the words. The deeds in this case are very clear. Let us look at the differences between what this Government has done for and about women while in office and what its predecessors did while in office-nothing. Against that desert of inaction for women we can put up these very proud pieces of legislation: The sex discrimination Bill, which banned discrimination against women in the provision of goods and services and in work; the Affirmative Action (Equal Employment Opportunity for Women) Bill for the Public Service; the Equal Employment Opportunity (Commonwealth Authorities) Bill, which was disgracefully opposed by the Opposition; and the affirmative action legislation, which will give women the opportunities for employment and promotion that men have always had. With every Budget we have presented a women's program, to allow Australian women to know what government departments are doing for them. We have increased child care places, by many thousands, to 20,000. We are looking at providing child care places in Technical and Further Education colleges to enable single mothers to increase their educational opportunities and therefore their employment opportunities. We have published studies of women in sport and women in the media. We are about to publish a survey of rural women's needs, something that the National Farmers' Federation has not thought about. We have made a survey of unpaid work at home, something that has been kept very much under the carpet for many, many years.

We have established a National Women's Consultative Council that does consult and, in regard to our national agenda for women, have asked every woman in Australia for her opinion. We have given women a say, a choice, a fair go and will continue to do so. The results of the national women's survey will be launched quite soon. What the Opposition has to say about the work that we have done is typified by the remarks of the honourable member for Parkes (Mr Cobb), who said of the Equal Employment Opportunity (Commonwealth Authorities) Bill:

Next thing we will be having to employ homosexuals, Indians from outer Mongolia or, if you like, one-legged, left-handed lesbians.

All I can say about that is that the people of Australia will understand very clearly the difference between a government that knows about and acts for women and those people on the other side of the chamber who have had nothing but contempt for women all of their lives.

Madam SPEAKER —Order! It being 2 p.m., in accordance with standing order 106, as amended for this session, the debate is interrupted and I put the question:

That grievances be noted.

Question resolved in the affirmative.