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Wednesday, 19 November 1986
Page: 2524

Senator RYAN (Minister for Education)(6.28) —On the first series of questions which Senator Vigor posed about the representation of women on various bodies within the portfolios being examined, he answered his own questions to some extent by quoting numbers. I would like to point out to Senator Vigor that the 50 per cent target is a longer term strategy on many boards and commissions throughout the Commonwealth's area of responsibility. There is very close to 50 per cent of women on others. That is still a goal we are pursuing. The way in which we seek suitable people is, first of all, through portfolio advice, but particularly through the register of women which is being compiled by the Office of the Status of Women. In fact, it was started during the time of our predecessors, I must acknowledge. I have frequently invited women such as my parliamentary colleagues Senator Reid and Senator Newman to suggest and to nominate women with a variety of skills and experience in the community who would be suited to appointment. One of the problems that Ministers have is that we still do not have a comprehensive data bank of appropriate women for all kinds of appointments. I repeat my invitation, particularly to Senator Reid and Senator Newman and also, of course, to male senators, that if they are aware of women who have attributes that make them suitable for such appointments to ensure that their curriculum vitaes are forwarded to the Office of the Status of Women to be included on the register of women. That is a common way in which Ministers seek to find suitable women for appointment.

Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 8 p.m.