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Wednesday, 1 April 1987
Page: 1602


Senator CROWLEY —The Special Minister of State is no doubt aware of the awards under the Order of Australia and the considerable underrepresentation of women on those lists, particularly at the highest level of awards. Can the Minister give any reason for this unequal distribution? Can he say what is the constitution of the committee making the decisions about awards? Can he say what steps he will take to see that the number of women receiving awards more accurately represents their continuing and excellent contribution to Australian achievements at all levels of society?


Senator TATE —I regret to inform Senator Crowley that, as this matter is peculiarly within the province of the Governor-General and Government House, I am unable to provide an extensive answer to her, except to say that of course I would wish to see in the lists of names of those who are awarded the distinguished honours under the Order of Australia scheme a representation of women in Australia. As far as the awards and the statistics are concerned that might help to underpin a better understanding in the community of the distribution of those awards. I certainly undertake to give Senator Crowley and the Senate a full analysis of the awards broken down by way of gender and perhaps geographical distribution and other factors.