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Wednesday, 22 August 1984
Page: 192

(Question No. 881)

Senator Hearn asked the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice, on 8 May 1984:

What proportion of participants appointed by the Australian Government are women in international negotiations and conferences relating to disarmament, human rights, peace and any United Nations agencies.

Senator Gareth Evans —The Minister for Foreign Affairs has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

No separate record has been kept of the proportion of women included in Australian delegations to international negotiations and conferences. Members of such delegations are chosen on the basis of their qualifications, the relevance of their duties to the subject matter under consideration, and their ability to represent Australia's position in the relevant forum.

In recent years women have represented Australia with distinction as members of delegations to many major international conferences, including for example the United Nations General Assembly, the Commission on Human Rights, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, the Commission on the Status of Women and various disarmament and outer space conferences.

The Government's commitment to the implementation of affirmative action policies within the Australian Public Service will ensure that in the future there is a larger number of women with appropriate expertise in relevant areas.