Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Hyatt Hotel, September 15, 1998: transcript of doorstop interview [women's policy; election]



Download WordDownload Word

image

MINISTER FOR THE STATUS OF WOMEN, JUDI MOYLAN TRANSCRIPT OF DOORSTOP, HYATT HOTEL, September 15, 1998.

 

Moylan:

 

It’s a very lightweight response to the many issues confronting contemporary women m Australia today. It does nothing for rural women. It ignores some of the most pressing health issues for women, such as breast cancer, which affects 10,000 Australian women every year. It does very little to encourage women back into the workforce. It does nothing to address the issue of women wanting to enter small business, and they’re doing so in increasing numbers. And it’s a very, like their tax reform policy, it’s an extremely lazy attempt to deliver policy for women in Australia today.

 

Journalist:

 

Cheryl Kernot has said that Coalition women have done nothing while they’ve been in government for women?

 

Moylan:

 

Well, Cheryl Kernot ought to have a look at some of the very practical responses we’ve put into place for women, issues such as women and their retirement income, superannuation and divorce, which the Labor party put on the backburner for over 10 years. There were issues like domestic violence that we’ve given practical responses to, working in close consultation with the community and there are also Labor, I noticed, claiming that we’re driving women out of the workforce. Well, none of the figures support that. There is nothing factual to support that claim. In fact, of the 320,000 new jobs that have been created in Australia in the 2.5 years that the Howard Government has been in office, over half those jobs have gone to women and 54% of those jobs in the last 12 months have been full time jobs.

 

Journalist:

 

What about negatives associated with the impact of Coalition policies on women. You went with Senator Helen Coonan to the Prime Minister concerned about the affects of all these policies on women and that you were being besieged at public meetings by women about the affect of Coalition policies?

 

Moylan:

 

Well, one of the issues of course was tax reform that women were expressing a concern about. But, now that we’ve delivered our policy I think Australian women can see that our tax reform policy is comprehensive. It looks at the intersection of taxation problems, the narrow caste of tax and the burden it is on many Australian families. As well as the social security problems that mean that many families are trapped in a poverty trap and can’t escape from it.

 

Journalist:

 

Your child care cuts though, that’s done nothing for women?

 

Moylan:

 

Well, let me remind you that Cheryl Kernot, when she was leader of the Democrats supported the Bill that I put through the Parliament on childcare. In fact, Jenny Macklin and Cheryl Kernot both welcomed the move to a national policy framework for childcare.

 

Journalist:

 

Labor’s research is showing that a majority of women across all age groups do not support a GST.

 

Moylan:

 

Well, you’re probably talking about the 400 people that Carmen Lawrence surveyed with the Emily List’s money and I don’t think that that’s a very representative group of people necessarily. We need to question the strength and the validity of that particular polling that was done.

 

Journalist:

 

What does your polling show?

 

Moylan:

 

Well, the most important poll is the one on election day and we will take our policy to the women of Australia , who recognise that our tax reform policy not only has the opportunity to spread the tax burden more evenly and fairly throughout our community. But also has the capacity to take a huge burden off our businesses, to help us maintain our standard of living and also to deliver jobs to our young people.

 

Journalist:

 

Do you think this may come down to personalities and you’re being pitted against probably the highest flyer of all in the Labor Party, Cheryl Kernot?

 

Moylan:

 

I’m very confident. I’ve put in the hard yards on the women’s policy area. I was Shadow Minister in the lead up to the last election and I’ve been Minister for the Status of Women since October last year and our government has the runs on the board. We have done the practical things in women’s policy to make life just a little more comfortable for many of Australia’s women.

 

Journalist:

 

Do you concede Cheryl Kernot is a force to be reckoned with in terms of this policy, in terms of this campaign?

 

Moylan:

 

Well, that’s up to the public to judge. I think Cheryl Kernot damaged her credibility when she left the Democrats and fled to the Labor Party and is now criticising policies of the government which she supported as Leader of the Democrat Party.

 

Journalist:

 

What do you think of Pauline Hanson’s claim that she wants to be the mother of Australia?

 

Moylan:

 

I think it’s an appalling statement and I agree entirely with the Prime Minister that we as members of Parliament are servants of the people and I think of course that comment will come back to haunt Ms Hanson for a very long time.

 

Journalist:

 

How will it come back to haunt her?

 

Moylan:

 

Well, I don’t think that people reacted very warmly to that kind of response.

 

Journalist:

 

Do you honestly believe that the Coalition has given Australian women a reason to vote for them?

 

Moylan:

 

Absolutely. When you look at our policy for rural women. We’ve injected just recently in the last budget $24.3 million into rural health, to try to help support the communities with multi-purpose services. We have seriously addressed the domestic violence problem, not only looking at continuing the crisis care for women and their children, but addressing the preventative measures of helping men with their violent behaviour, to combat their violent behaviour. And we’ve also been looking at the impact of domestic violence on the lives of young people. So we’ve given a practical response. Labor only ever did studies and we heard a lot about the rhetoric of what they were doing for women, but there was very little substance in that. And I think our government can stand on its record well and truly when it comes to policies that impact on the lives of women.

 

Journalist:

 

Do you still have the view, that you expressed a few months ago, that despite the increase number of women in the Coalition, that they were having absolutely no effect on the way government was formulating policy?

 

Moylan:

 

I have never made those kind of comments. In fact, quite the contrary. The women that we have in the Parliament and we have 26 women on the Coalition benches. We have 18 women in the House of Representatives, which is a record number of women I will remind you. And those women have had a very important input into both the last Parliament and into policy making.

 

ends

 

 

KD