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"Liberalism and liberal party philosophy"



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EMBARGO UNTIL 1 0 .0 0 AM, SATURDAY 17 SEPTEMBER 1985

n

" F e m i n i s m St a g e 2 - T he L ib e r a l Wa y "

L ib e r a l Netw ork S p e c i a l B ranch

L ib e r a l Pa r t y N . S . W. D i v i s i o n

"LIBERALISM AND LIBERAL PARTY PHILOSOPHY"

Ad d r e s s By

IAN MACPHEE, MP

Shadow Mi n i s t e r fo r Em p l o y m e n t a n d

I n d u s t r i a l Re l a t i o n s a n d fo r t h e St a t u s o f Women

17 Se p t e m b e r 1 9 8 3

Ma d a m Pr e s i d e n t

La d i e s a n d Ge n t l e m e n

Your Co n f e r e n c e o r g a n i s e r s h a v e a s k e d Sa n d r a S im p s o n a n d me

TO SHARE T H IS T O P IC . SANDRA HAS SPOKEN OF LIB E R A L IS M

PHILOSOPHICALLY AND H IS T O R IC A L L Y . I INTEND TO RELATE THAT

t o L i b e r a l Pa r t y p r a c t i c e .

As THE TOPIC IS BROAD AND TIM E L IM IT E D , I W IL L CONCENTRATE

UPON SOME GENERAL COMMENTS AND THEN DEAL WITH S P E C IF IC MATTERS

RELEVANT TO LIBERALISM AND THE STATUS OF WOMEN.

My s t a r t i n g p o i n t i s t h r e e q u o t a t i o n s . T he f i r s t i s fro m

THE FOUNDER OF THE LIBERAL PARTY OF AUSTRALIA, S IR ROBERT MENZIES

" I n a v i s i o n o f t h e f u t u r e I SEE t h e i n d i v i d u a l a n d

H IS ENCOURAGEMENT AND RECOGNITION AS THE PRIME MOTIVE

FORCE FOR BU ILDING A BETTER WORLD"

T he s e c o n d i s fro m t h e s e c o n d l o n g e s t s e r v i n g l e a d e r , Mr

Ma l c o l m Fr a s e r :

" T h e L i b e r a l Pa r t y ' s b e l i e f i n f r e e d o m i s an e x p r e s s i o n

OF OUR COMMITMENT TO HUMAN D IG N IT Y AND TO THE VALUE OF

EACH PERSON"

T he t h i r d i s from t h e p r e s e n t l e a d e r , Mr Andr ew Pe a c o c k who

i n h o n o u r in g S i r Ro b e r t Me n z i e s , s a i d t h a t t h e f i r s t o f t h e

J 2

- 2 -

KEY ELEMENTS OF LIBERAL PHILOSOPHY IS "THE RIGHT TO

IN D IV ID U A L FREEDOM AND CHOICE IN ALL ASPECTS OF HUMAN

ENDEAVOUR",

L i b e r a l p h i l o s o p h y a n d p o l i c y m u s t com e t o t e r m s w i t h t h e

MANY A S PIR A TIO N S , RIGHTS AND NEEDS OF IN D IV ID U A L S IN OUR

s o c i e t y , Some w i l l r e q u i r e a c t i o n b y g o v e r n m e n t a n d some

SHOULD BE LEFT FOR IN D IV ID U A L AND COLLECTIVE ACTION IN

THE COMMUNITY,

T he L i b e r a l Pa r t y a n d i t s l e a d e r s h a v e b e e n r e m i s s i n n o t

RECORDING MORE CLEARLY WHAT THEY BELIEVE IN AND HOW THOSE

BELIEFS SHOULD BE TRANSLATED INTO ACTION, FOR THOSE OF YOU

LOOKING FOR A CONCISE AND GENUINELY LIBERAL STATEMENT I

com m end L i b e r a l T h i n k i n g b y Ch r i s Pu p l i c k a n d S i r Ro b e r t

So u t h e y , Ma c m i l l a n , 1 9 S 0 . At p a g e 52 t h e a u t h o r s s t a t e :

" T he f a m i l y h a s a l w a y s b e e n a c r i t i c a l f a c t o r i n t h e

PHILOSOPHY OF LIBERALISM FOR A NUMBER OF REASONS.

I t IS THE PRIVATE SPHERE W IT H IN WHICH THE IN D IV ID U A L

MAY L IV E MOST OF H IS L IF E . IT IS THE P R IN C IP A L SPHERE

W IT H IN WHICH THE IN D IV ID U A L 'S NEEDS FOR CLOSE AND

SUPPORTING RELATIONSHIPS ARE MET. I T IS THE PRIMARY

IN S T IT U T IO N THROUGH WHICH THE IN D IV ID U A L LEARNS VALUES

AND GAINS AN UNDERSTANDING ABOUT THE WORLD. I T IS

PRIMARILY W IT H IN THE FAMILY THAT THE IN D IV ID U A L

DEVELOPS HIS'CONCEPTION OF H IM S E L F, OF H IS WORTH,

H IS CAPACITIES AND H IS VALUES"

, . / 3

- 3 -

T h a t s t a t e m e n t i s o n e w h ic h r e p r e s e n t s an i d e a l for w h ic h

I BELIEVE MOST AUSTRALIANS WOULD S T R IV E , I T IS S IG N IF IC A N T

THAT I T FOLLOWS F IF T Y PAGES OF DISCUSSION CONSISTENT WITH

THE QUOTATIONS OF THE THREE LEADERS AND THAT I T GOES ON TO

ACKNOWLEDGE THAT THAT IDEAL IS NOT ALWAYS ATTAINABLE. THE

AUTHORS OBSERVE THAT WHILE THE TR A D ITIO N A L FAMILY DOES MUCH

TO SATISFY THE PHYSICAL AND S P IR IT U A L WANTS OF IN D IV ID U A L S

W IT H IN I T "THERE IS NO BASIS FOR ASSERTING THAT THE CURRENTLY

ACCEPTED VIEW OF SOCIAL OR FAMILY ORGANISATION IS THE ONLY

ONE CAPABLE OF CONTRIBUTING TO IN D IV ID U A L S E LF-FU L FILM E N T.

From t i m e t o t i m e s u c h a r r a n g e m e n t s a s t h e g r o u p or e x t e n d e d

FAMILY HAVE P O S IT IV E SOCIAL B E N E F IT S ".

Any s t u d e n t o f our s o c i e t y w o u ld a g r e e w i t h t h e two

D IS T IN G U IS H E D AUTHORS. AND ANY LIBERAL WOULD ALSO AGREE WITH

THEIR NEXT ASSERTION THAT "THE FREEDOM OF THE IN D IV ID U A L TO

PURSUE H IS OR HER OWN LIFES TYLE IS A BASIC B E L IE F FOR LIBERALS.

I t i s a n a t u r a l e x t e n s i o n o f b e l i e f i n i n d i v i d u a l e x p r e s s i o n .

" T he f r e e d o m o f t h e i n d i v i d u a l t o p u r s u e h i s or h er

OWN LIFES TYLE IS A BASIC B E L IE F FOR LIBERALS. I T IS

A NATURAL EXTENSION OF B E LIE F IN IN D IV ID U A L EXPRESSION.

T h i s e x p r e s s i o n may n o t b e s i m p l y r e l a t e d t o a p h y s i c a l

STYLE OF L IF E ; BUT MAY RELATE EQUALLY TO THE HOLDING

AND PRACTISING OF R E L IG IO U S , E T H IC A L , MORAL, P O L IT IC A L

OR SEXUAL CODES OF BEHAVIOUR WHICH ARE DIFFERENT FROM

THE NORM. S uch f r e e d o m , h o w e v e r , m u s t b e c o n s i s t e n t

WITH THE RIGHTS OF OTHERS. WHILST THERE W ILL ALWAYS

. . / 4

BE A MAINSTREAM IN SOCIETY WITH IT S GIVEN VALUES

AND NORMS, LIBERALS HOPE THAT THERE W IL L ALSO BE '

D IV E R S IT Y , THE EXPRESSION OF THAT D IV E R S IT Y IN THE

FORM OF ALTERNATIVE LIFES TYLE S CAN CONTRIBUTE TO AND

INFLUENCE THE OVERALL DEVELOPMENT AND DIRECTIO N OF

s o c i e t y . J u s t a s d i f f e r i n g e t h n i c c o m m u n i t i e s h a v e

INFLUENCE, AND ARE CONTINUING TO HAVE AN EFFECT ON,

COMMUNITY VALUES AND STANDARDS, SO W IL L OTHER

ALTERNATIVE FORMS OF L IF E S T Y L E S . MANY IN D IV ID U A L S

ARE PREPARED TO ACCEPT, WITHOUT SERIOUS QUESTION IN G,

MOST OF THE VALUES AND IN S T IT U T IO N S IN OUR SO CIETY.

Th e i r c o n f o r m i t y a f f e c t s t h e norm i n s o c i e t y , f o r t h e

VALUES OF A SOCIETY ARE NO MORE THAN THE COMBINATION

OF THE VALUES OF ALL IN D IV ID U A L S W IT H IN THAT SO C IETY.

L i b e r a l s b e l i e v e t h a t i n d i v i d u a l s m u s t b e f r e e t o p u r s u e

THE VALUES THEY CHOOSE IN S O C IE T Y , AND THEY HAVE A RIGHT

TO CONVINCE OTHERS OF THE WORTH OF THOSE V A L U E S ."

I AGREE ENTIRELY WITH THOSE VIEWS AND WOULD ADD THAT THEY ARE

V IT A L TO A LIBERAL APPROACH TO THE ARRAY OF FAMILY FORMATIONS

NOW EVIDENT IN OUR SO CIETY. THUS LIB E R A L IS M FACES A NEW

CHALLENGE IN ACCOMMODATING THE INTERESTS OF THE IN D IV ID U A L

IN SITU ATIO N S WHICH DEPART, VARIOUSLY, FROM WHAT SOCIETY

GENERALLY FELT COMFORTABLE WITH ONLY A GENERATION AGO. T H IS

SITU A TIO N PROVIDES AN EXCELLENT ILLUSTRA TION OF ANOTHER STATEMENT

i n L i b e r a l Th i n k i n g w h e r e i n t h e a u t h o r s s a y t h a t " T he L i b e r a l

PHILOSOPHY IS A CHARTING OF CONCEPTS WHICH ARE

ESSENTIALLY TIM E LES S: THEY DO NOT ALTER OVER T I M E , THOUGH CHANGING

CIRCUMSTANCES W ILL DEMAND CONTEMPORARY RESTATEMENT AND NEW

EMPHASES."

. . / 5

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Du r i n g t h e two w o r l d w a r s , women w e r e r e c r u i t e d t o do

C IV IL IA N WORK PREVIOUSLY PERFORMED BY MEN. WHEN "THE BOYS ·

CAME HOME" THEY WERE SENT BACK TO DOMESTIC CHORES WITH MUCH

THE SAME FERVOUR AS HAD BEEN DISPLAYED TO HAVE THEM JO IN

THE PAID WORKFORCE. IF THEY REMAINED IN THE PAID WORKFORCE,

THEY WERE PAID LESS THAN MEN FOR THE SAME WORK. EDUCATION,

CONTRACEPTION, LABOUR-SAVING D E V IC E S , MATERIAL ASPIRATIONS

AND THE TRANSFORMATION OF THE FAMILY INTO MANY DIFFERENT FORMS

GUARANTEED THAT WOMEN OF ALL AGES WOULD SEEK PAID EMPLOYMENT

(AND AT EQUAL RATES) FOR MUCH OF TH EIR L IV E S . SUCH FREEDOM

OF CHOICE IS THE ESSENCE OF LIBERALISM AND THE EXERCISE OF

IT ENABLES THE NATION TO HARNESS IT S HUMAN RESOURCES MOST

EFFECTIVELY.

T h a t i r r e v e r s i b l e t r e n d c a r r i e s w i t h i t f u n d a m e n t a l c h a l l e n g e s

TO OUR a t t i t u d e s t o work a s w e l l as t o o t h e r a s p e c t s o f s o c i e t y .

I t i s now a c c e p t e d b y m en a n d women t h a t f a t h e r s a s w e l l

AS MOTHERS HAVE A R E S P O N S IB IL IT Y TO CARE FOR AND GUIDE SUCCESSIVE

GENERATIONS OF CHILDREN. THE LOVE AND GUIDANCE OF BOTH PARENTS

IS EMINENTLY DESIRABLE AS A FOUNDATION FOR COPING WITH THE

WORLD; BUT CHILDREN ALSO NEED INTERACTION WITH OTHERS OF ALL

AGES FROM AN EARLY AGE. T H IS WAS ONCE PRODUCED BY THE EXTENDED

FA M ILY, BUT WITH THE GENERAL AND IRRETRIEVABLE BREAKDOWN OF

THAT, THE A V A IL A B IL IT Y OF QUALITY CHILD CARE BECOMES AS IMPORTANT

FOR THE CHILD AS FOR THE PARENTS. WHEN THE AVERAGE AUSTRALIAN

FAMILY WAS A MALE INCOME-EARNER, A DEPENDENT FEMALE AND A COUPLE

OF CHILDREN, THE MOTHER D ID MOST OF THE PARENTING AND ALL OF

DOMESTIC CHORES BUT WAS ABLE TO GET SOME R E LIEF BY LEAVING THE

. . /6

- 6 -

CHILDREN WITH RELATIVES FOR OCCASIONAL CARE, IT PLEASED

GRANDPARENTS, WAS A NOVELTY FOR THE CHILDREN AND AN ESSENTIAL *

PERIOD OF R E LIEF FOR THE MOTHER,

I n d u s t r i a l i s a t i o n , u r b a n i s a t i o n , g r e a t e r m o b i l i t y a n d a

GENERAL TENDENCY FOR THE HOUSEHOLD TO BECOME INSULAR HAS

CHANGED ALL THAT, AND IF ONE ADDS THE UNDENIABLE S T A T IS T IC S

OF THE FURTHER BREAKDOWN OF THE NUCLEAR FAMILY INTO A SERIES

OF F A M IL IE S OFTEN HEADED BY A SOLE PARENT (OFTEN MALE) THE

NEED FOR READILY AVAILABLE CHILD CARE, OF GOVERNMENT-SUPERVISED

Q U A L ITY , IS BEYOND ARGUMENT. (SUCH F A C IL IT IE S NEED NOT BE

PROVIDED BY GOVERNMENT BUT I F COMMERCIAL, MUST MEET GOVERNMENT

STANDARDS). SO, TOO, IS THE NEED FOR MULTI-PURPOSE BUILDING S

IN ORDER TO CONTAIN CAPITAL AND RECURRENT EXPENDITURES. AND SO,

TOO, IS THE NEED FOR SOME GOVERNMENT PAYMENT TO PEOPLE WHO ARE

PREPARED TO CARE FOR DEPENDENTS AT HOME - WHETHER THEY BE AGED,

DISABLED OR VERY YOUNG. GOVERNMENTS ARE ALWAYS SLOW TO RECOGNISE

AND CATER FOR SUCH NEEDS. ONE REASON FOR T H IS L IE S IN THE

RELUCTANCE OF P O L IT IC IA N S AND TH E IR CIRCLE OF FRIENDS AND

ADVISERS TO FACE THE FACTS OF A DRAMATICALLY CHANGING SOCIETY.

The Fe d e r a l Pa r l ia m e n t a r y L i b e r a l Pa r t y r e c o g n i s e s t h e n e e d t o

TH IN K THROUGH EACH OF THE FUNCTIONS NOW PERFORMED BY GOVERNMENT

AND EACH OF THE AREAS OF REAL NEED. I T ALSO RECOGNISES THE

NECESSITY OF APPLYING IT S PHILOSOPHY TO DEVISE P O L IC IE S CAPABLE

OF MEETING THOSE NEEDS. IT S OBJECT MUST BE TO USE IT S PERIOD

i n Op p o s i t i o n t o p r e p a r e p o l i c i e s c a p a b l e o f i m p l e m e n t a t i o n i n

WAYS WHICH CONFORM WITH IT S ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL CONCERNS.

Re g a r d in g t h e l a t t e r i t m u s t p r o d u c e e f f e c t i v e p o l i c i e s t o a s s i s t

. . . Π

- 7 -

ALL FAMILY FORMATIONS SO THAT THE IN D IV ID U A L S W IT H IN THEM

ARE PROTECTED, EDUCATED AND ABLE TO EXERCISE FREEDOM AND .

EQUALITY ON THE SAME BASIS AS ANY OTHER MEMBER OF THE

Au s t r a l i a n s o c i e t y . Re g a r d in g t h e f o r m e r , i t m u s t e n s u r e

THAT IT S OVERALL BUDGET OUTCOME DOES NOT CONTRIBUTE TO

INFLATION AND, THEREFORE, UNEMPLOYMENT. RATHER I T SHOULD

STIMULATE INCENTIVE IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR SO THAT THAT SECTOR

MAY GROW AND THEREBY INCREASE EMPLOYMENT. A MAJOR PART OF

THAT STIMULATION WOULD BE ACHIEVED BY THE REMOVAL OF AS MANY

GOVERNMENT REGULATIONS ON INDUSTRY AS POSSIBLE. AS MR FRASER

s a i d t o Pa r l i a m e n t when p r e s e n t i n g t h e Re v i e w o f Co m m o n w e a l t h

Fu n c t i o n s " T a x p a y e r s s h o u l d o n l y b e a s k e d t o m e e t t h e c o s t s of

SUBSID IES AND OTHER ASSISTANCE WHERE THE BENEFITS CLEARLY

WARRANT THE EXPENSE."

T he a p p l i c a t i o n o f l i b e r a l p r i n c i p l e s i n v o l v e s an i t e m b y ITEM

SCRUTINY OF THOSE REGULATIONS WITH A VIEW TO ASCERTAINING TH EIR

PURPOSE, TH EIR CONTINUED RELEVANCE, TH EIR OUTCOME AND TH EIR

RELATIONSHIP TO THE RIGHTS OF IN D IV ID U A L S . THE RIGHTS OF

IN D IV ID U A LS INVOLVE THE RIGHT TO DO OR SAY THINGS AND THE RIGHT

NOT TO BE INTERFERED WITH (AS WELL AS THE DUTY NOT TO INTERFERE

WITH O THERS).· THE NEED FOR GOVERNMENT APPARATUS TO ADVANCE

AND SAFEGUARD THOSE RIGHTS MUST TAKE INTO ACCOUNT THE COST TO

THE IN D IV ID U A L S WROUGHT BY INFLA TION I F GOVERNMENT EXPENDITURE

GREATLY EXCEEDS REVENUE. I T MUST ALSO TAKE ACCOUNT OF THE IMPACT

OF TAXATION (TO HELP FUND THAT EXPENDITURE) ON THOSE WHO PROVIDE

THE MAJOR MOTOR FOR GROWTH IN EMPLOYMENT.

THEREFORE, ONE IMPERATIVE IS A MAJOR CHANGE IN THE ALLOCATION

. .78

- 8 -

OF GOVERNMENT EXPENDITURE. A FRESH APPROACH TO BOTH REVENUE

AND EXPENDITURE COULD PRODUCE AN OUTCOME WHICH BETTER MEETS ·

THE NEEDS OF SOCIETY AND AIDS EMPLOYMENT CREATION AT THE SAME

T IM E . TO MAKE THAT CHANGE REQUIRES A LEVEL OF COMMITMENT TO

HUMANITARIAN LIBERALISM AND A P O L IT IC A L W ILL WHICH IS RARE IN

Au s t r a l i a . T h a t c o m m it m e n t w o u l d b e b a s e d on t h e n e e d s a n d

ASPIRATIONS OF THE MODERN AUSTRALIAN AND WOULD NOT HARK BACK TO

WHAT WAS OR PONTIFICATE ABOUT WHAT OUGHT TO BE. THAT COMMITMENT

WOULD ACKNOWLEDGE THAT, AS STATED PREVIOUSLY, THERE IS A VAST

ARRAY OF FAMILY FORMATIONS TODAY, THAT THE IN D IV ID U A L IS THE

BASIC UN IT OF SOCIETY AND THAT THE WELL-BEING OF THAT IN D IV ID U A L

RESTS UPON THE IN D IV ID U A L 'S OWN RESOURCEFULNESS, INTERACTION WITH

OTHERS W IT H IN THE FAMILY AND ELSEWHERE AND A RANGE OF GOVERNMENT

P O LIC IE S AND PROGRAMS. IT WOULD ACKNOWLEDGE THAT THE IN D IV ID U A L

W ILL ASPIRE TO A TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE WITH TWO OR THREE CHILDREN

BUT THAT THE REALITY W ILL OFTEN FALL SHORT OF THE ID E A L. IT

W ILL RECOGNISE THAT THE PRESSURES WHICH CAUSED MARRIAGES TO

SURVIVE IN NAME, NO LONGER PR EV A IL. IT W ILL ACCOMMODATE THE

NEED OF COUPLES TO SUPPLEMENT THE INCOME OF THE P R IN C IP A L EARNER

WHILE S T IL L PROVIDING THEIR CHILDREN WITH ADEQUATE EXTRA-PARENTAL

STIM ULATION, COMPANY AND CARE. I T W ILL RECOGNISE THE RIGHT OF

THE COUPLE T O ' DECIDE WHO SHOULD BE THE P R IN C IP A L EARNER AT A

GIVEN T IM E , WHETHER BOTH NEED TO WORK F U LL-TIM E AND WHETHER

BOTH MIGHT WISH TO WORK P A R T -T IM E , ALWAYS G IV IN G P R IO R IT Y TO

THE WELL-BEING OF ANY CHILDREN INVOLVED.

L ib e r a l s a l s o s u p p o r t e q u a l i t y o f o p p o r t u n i t y a n d o p p o s e

DISC R IM IN A TIO N ON ANY GROUND. HENCE THE COMMITMENT OF THE

Fr a s e r Go v e r n m e n t t o t h e U .N . Co n v e n t i o n on t h e El i m i n a t i o n o f

. . /Q

- 9 -

Al l Forms o f D i s c r i m i n a t i o n Ag a i n s t Wom en a n d t o t h e e n a c t m e n t

OF LEGISLATION SEEKING TO ELIM IN A TE D IS C R IM IN A T IO N AND SEXUAL -

HARASSMENT, LIBERALS DO NOT HAVE TO AGREE WITH ALL THE

RHETORIC OR EVEN ALL OF THE PROVISIONS TO SUPPORT THE CONVENTION.

Nor s h o u l d t h e y a ll o w u n d o u b t e d d e f e c t s i n t h e Se x D i s c r i m i n a t i o n

B i l l p r e s e n t e d t o Pa r l i a m e n t b y t h e Hawke Go v e r n m e n t t o sway

THEM FROM SUPPORTING THE FUNDAMENTAL LIBERAL PR IN C IPLE S

UNDERLYING AND EMBODIED IN THE B I L L .

Sa d l y , t h e d e b a t e on b o t h t h e Co n v e n t i o n a n d t h e B i l l has

BEEN AN UNEVEN ONE. THOSE HOLDING LIBERAL B E LIEFS HAVE

ACCEPTED THAT THE CONVENTION IS THE PRODUCT OF A COMMITTEE OF

THE MOST CUMBERSOME AND DIVERSE KIND AND THAT I T MAY

THEREFORE HAVE SHORTCOMINGS. I T WOULD NOT OCCUR TO A LIBERAL

TO OPPOSE THE CONVENTION ON THOSE GROUNDS. L IK E W IS E , A B IL L

PREPARED BY A LABOR GOVERNMENT W IL L HAVE ASPECTS WHICH A

L i b e r a l Pa r t y m ay w i s h t o a m e n d b u t i t w o u ld n o t o c c u r t o

LIBERALS TO OPPOSE THE B IL L EVEN IF TH E IR AMENDMENTS WERE

REJECTED BY THE GOVERNMENT. LIBERALS CANNOT BACKSLIDE MERELY

BECAUSE THEY DO NOT L IK E OR TRUST THE GOVERNMENT INTRODUCING

A MEASURE. THE TEST HAS TO BE WHETHER IT S OBJECTS AND LIK E LY

EFFECT CONFORM WITH LIBERAL P R IN C IP L E S .

T he Co n v e n t io n can o n l y b e c o m e law i n Au s t r a l i a w hen e n a c t e d

by our Pa r l i a m e n t . Wh i l e t h e B i l l now b e f o r e Pa r l i a m e n t i s i n

NEED OF AMENDMENT THERE IS NO DOUBT THAT I T DOES CONFORM WITH

AND EMBODY LIBERAL P R IN C IP L E S . THE CONTINUATION OF D IS C R IM IN A T IO N

ON THE GROUNDS OF SEX, MARITAL STATUS OR PREGNANCY IS A BLOT ON

OUR SOCIETY AND OFFENDS LIBERAL P R IN C IP L E S .

. ,/10

- 10 -

T h e r e i s a l i m i t t o t h e e x t e n t t o w h ic h a Co n v e n t i o n or an

Ac t can e l i m i n a t e t h a t d i s c r i m i n a t i o n . T he im p o r t a n c e o f ·

t h o s e d o c u m e n t s l i e s m o re i n t h e f a c t t h a t t h e y r e p r e s e n t

A COMMITMENT BY OUR SOCIETY TO EQUALITY OF OPPORTUNITY IN THE

RANGE OF HUMAN A C T IV IT Y TO WHICH THEY RELATE.

From t h e r e t h e e d u c a t i o n a l p r o c e s s m a y b e a c c e l e r a t e d . For

AT IT S HEART , D IS C R IM IN A T IO N AND SEXUAL HARASSMENT STEM FROM

DEEP-SEATED AND UNTHINKING ATTITUDES AND ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT

THE ROLE OF MEN AND WOMEN.

I T HAS BEEN THOSE ASSUMPTIONS WHICH HAVE BEEN RESPONSIBLE

FOR THE IRRATIONAL CAMPAIGN WHICH HAS BEEN MOUNTED BY THOSE

WHO FAVOUR THE STATUS QUO. SUCH PERSONS ARE CONSERVATIVES AND

HAVE NO PLACE IN A LIBERAL PARTY. THERE IS ROOM IN OUR DEMOCRACY

FOR A CONSERVATIVE PARTY BUT THE LIBERAL PARTY IS NOT THAT

p a r t y . S i r Ro b e r t Me n z i e s e n j o y e d e x c e l l e n t r e l a t i o n s w i t h

Br i t i s h Co n s e r v a t i v e l e a d e r s b u t h e d i d n o t f o u n d a Co n s e r v a t i v e

Pa r t y i n Au s t r a l i a . He c a r e f u l l y a n d d e l i b e r a t e l y f o u n d e d a

l i b e r a l p a r t y a n d i t b e h o v e s a l l l i b e r a l s t o m a i n t a i n i t a s

A LIBERAL PARTY.

For i t i s a f a c t o f l i f e t h a t e x t r e m i s t s o f t h e r i g h t c a n b e

AS d e s t r u c t i v e o f l i b e r a l i s m a s e x t r e m i s t s o f t h e l e f t .

Un f o r t u n a t e l y , t h e m o d e r a t e s a r e o f t e n a p a t h e t i c a n d do n o t

PLAY THE ACTIVE ROLE THEY SHOULD IN THE LIBERAL PARTY.

. ./11

- ι ι -

As t h e Shadow Mi n i s t e r r e s p o n s i b l e fo r Op p o s i t i o n p o l i c y

CONCERNING THE STATUS OF WOMEN, I HAVE STRIVEN HARD TO

CONVINCE APPREHENSIVE PARLIAMENTARIANS THAT THE VIEWS OF V I S I T I N G

Am e r ic a n r i g h t w in g a c t i v i s t s a r e w r o n g . I h a v e d o n e t h i s

QUIETLY AND PATIENTLY IN S P ITE OF PUBLIC STATEMENTS BY OTHER

MEMBERS OF THE OPPOSITION PRIOR TO DISCUSSION OF THE SEX

Di s c r i m i n a t i o n B i l l b y t h e Shadow Ca b i n e t . a s t a t e m e n t

by Mr An t h o n y a c k n o w l e d g e d t h a t m u ch o f t h e d e b a t e on t h e

Co n v e n t i o n a n d t h e B i l l was e r r o n e o u s b u t s a i d t h a t t h e Na t i o n a l

Pa r t y was " on b a l a n c e " o p p o s e d t o t h e B i l l .

Un t i l t o d a y , I h a v e r e f r a i n e d fro m c o m m e n t in g on t h e B i l l as

I had h o p e d t o a c h i e v e a u n i t e d c o a l i t i o n p o s i t i o n b y c o n v i n c i n g

t h e Na t i o n a l Pa r t y t h a t , on b a l a n c e , i t s h o u l d c h a n g e i t s m i n d

AND SUPPORT THE B I L L . STATEMENTS T H IS WEEK IN THE "SYDNEY

Mo r n in g He r a l d " d e m o n s t r a t e t h a t I h a v e f a i l e d .

T h o s e p e o p l e vm:o s a y t h e r e i s :;o n e e d for l e g i s l a t i o n a g a i n s t

SEX DISC;·: I MI NAT ION CLEARLY HAVE UC UNDERSTANDING OF THE

SERIOUS D IS C R IM IN A T IO N SUFFERED BY

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MANY WOMEN WHEN THEY SEEK TO GET BANK LOANS, SUPERANNUATION

OR RENTAL ACCOMMODATION ON TERMS WHICH WOULD BE OFFERED TO MEN, ‘

I n d e e d , d i s c r i m i n a t i o n a g a i n s t women w i t h c h i l d r e n i n g a i n i n g

RENTAL ACCOMMODATION IS OF C R IS IS PROPORTIONS. EVEN IN THE AREA

OF EMPLOYMENT, D IS C R IM IN A T IO N REMAINS. SOME OF T H IS IS

STRUCTURAL AND MUST BE CHANGED BY A CONCERTED CAMPAIGN TO

EDUCATE MALE BUSINESS AND TRADE UNION LEADERS ABOUT THE NEED

FOR CHANGE. I AM COMMITTED TO T H IS CAUSE AND W IL L WELCOME

ANY ASSISTANCE WHICH LEGISLATION CAN PROVIDE.

En t r e n c h e d u n i o n c h a u v i n i s m w i l l b e b e s t c h a n g e d b y a c t i v e

FEMALE PA R TIC IP A TIO N IN TRADE UNIONS. MANAGEMENT OPPOSITION

W ILL BE REDUCED WHEN AS PIR IN G FEMALE EXECUTIVES ASSERT THEMSELVES

MORE AND WHEN MANAGEMENT SEES THE ENLIGHTENED S E LF-IN TE R E S T

OF HARNESSING THE TALENTS OF PEOPLE REGARDLESS OF SEX.

Au s t r a l i a has a h ug e i n v e s t m e n t i n t h e e d u c a t io n o f our w o m e n .

We w o u ld be s q u a n d e r in g t h a t i n v e s t m e n t AND 50% OF OUR TALENT,

C R E A T IV IT Y AND ENERGY IF WE PERPETUATE D IS C R IM IN A T IO N AGAINST

WOMEN. ( I T IS ALSO WORTHY OF NOTE THAT THE B IL L ALSO SEEKS TO

ELIM IN A TE SOME D IS C R IM IN A T IO N AGAINST M E N ).

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De b a t e on t h e Co n v e n t i o n a n d t h e B i l l h a s b e e n c h a r a c t e r i s e d

BY IRRATION AL, IGNORANT AND DISHONEST ASSERTIONS, THESE HAVE

OFTEN BEEN MADE BY PEOPLE WHOSE P R IV ILEG E D PO SITIO N HAS GIVEN

THEM THE BEST OF ALL WORLDS - THE RIGHT TO PURSUE A CAREER OF

THEIR CHOICE AS WELL AS ATTENDING TO TH EIR FAMILY R E S P O N S IB IL IT IE S

IN THE MANNER THEY BELIEVE APPROPRIATE - BUT I HAVE TR IE D TO

ANSWER THESE ASSERTIONS WHENEVER I HAVE HEARD THEM.

AS A CONSEQUENCE OF T H IS HYSTERICAL AND MISCHIEVOUS CAMPAIGN,

SOME VERY REASONABLE AND RATIONAL PEOPLE HAVE RECENTLY EXPRESSED

OPPOSITION TO THE TWO DOCUMENTS UPON FALSE ASSUMPTIONS DEVELOPED

BY THE AGITATORS,

Thus some s a y t h a t t h e B i l l d e m e a n s t h e s t a t u s o f women who

CHOOSE NOT TO ENTER THE PAID WORKFORCE. A MERE READING OF THE

Bi l l shows t h a t t h i s i s n o n s e n s e . T he B i l l s e e k s t o r e m o v e

BARRIERS WHICH DEMEAN THE STATUS OF WOMEN WHO DO SEEK TO ENTER

THE PAID WORKFORCE. SOME MARRIED WOMEN FEEL THREATENED BY THE

FACT THAT THERE ARE OTHER MARRIED WOMEN WHO WISH TO P A R T IC IP A T E

IN BOTH THE PAID WORKFORCE AND TH E IR FAMILY L IF E . THAT INSECU RITY

IS UNFORTUNATE BUT OPPOSITION TO THE B IL L W ILL NOT ALLEVIATE

IT ANY MORE THAN OPPOSITION W IL L REDUCE THE DESIRE OF OTHER WOMEN

FOR EQUALITY OF OPPORTUNITY WITH MEN IN THE WORKFORCE.

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I t i s a l s o a s s e r t e d t h a t t h e B i l l w i l l e n c o u r a g e t h e break do w n

OF THE FAMILY UNIT BY ENTICING MORE WOMEN INTO THE WORKFORCE. '

T h i s a g a in i s n o n s e n s e . T he B i l l s i m p l y s e e k s t o r e m o v e b a r r i e r s

TO WOMEN WHO WISH OR FEEL OBLIGED BY ECONOMIC CIRCUMSTANCES

TO ENTER THE PAID WORKFORCE.

Ne i t h e r t h i s nor a n y o t h e r B i l l can d is c o u r a g e or p r e v e n t t h e

BREAKDOWN OF MARRIAGE. P O LIC IE S OF GOVERNMENTS CAN HELP REDUCE

STRAINS IN MARRIAGE AND SUPPLEMENT THE ROLE OF PARENTS IN

DISCHARGING THEIR R E S P O N S IB IL IT IE S TOWARDS OUR N A TIO N 'S YOUNG,

BUT SUCH PO LIC IES HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH T H IS B IL L .

IT IS FURTHER SAID THAT THE B IL L ENABLES THE STATE TO INTRUDE

IN AREAS OF PERSONAL L IF E . IN FACT, THE B IL L SEEKS TO ELIM IN ATE

THE INTRUSION OF SOME PEOPLE AND CORPORATIONS INTO THE PERSONAL

LIVES OF OTHERS BY IN FR IN G IN G TH EIR RIGHT TO EQUALITY OF TREATMENT

WITH PEOPLE OF A DIFFERENT SEX OR MARITAL STATUS.

IT HAS ALSO BEEN SAID THAT R A T IF IC A T IO N OF THE U.N. CONVENTION

has m a de Au s t r a l i a s u b j e c t t o e x t e r n a l i n t e r f e r e n c e i n our

DOMESTIC LAW. THE FACT IS THAT THOSE ARTICLES OF THE

Co n v e n t io n w h ic h a r e c o m p l a i n e d o f a r e s i m i l a r t o t h o s e i n

OTHER INTERNATIONAL INSTRUMENTS TO WHICH WE HAVE SUBSCRIBED.

I n PRACTICE THERE W ILL NOT BE ANY INTERFERENCE FROM ANY OUTSIDE

Au s t r a l i a i n a n y a s p e c t o f our e q u a l o p p o r t u n i t y l a w s .

F i n a l l y , i t i s s a i d t h a t t h e s u p p o r t e r s o f t h e B i l l a n d t h e

Co n v e n t io n a r e a l l y o u n g f e m i n i s t a c t i v i s t s who a r e a g a i n s t

THE TRADITIONAL ROLE OF WIFE AND MOTHER. ON THE CONTRARY,

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MOST OF THE SUPPORTERS OF THE B I L L ARE MEN AND WOMEN WHO

w i s h Au s t r a l i a n law s a n d p r a c t i c e t o p r o v i d e f r e e d o m o f *

CHOICE SO THAT IN D IV ID U A L AND FAMILY L I F E MAY BE ENRICHED

BY ENABLING MEN AND WOMEN TO SHARE R E S P O N S IB IL IT IE S AT HOME

AND IN THE PA ID WORKFORCE. AS IN OTHER AREAS OF L I F E , M IL IT A N C Y

OCCURS WHEN PROGRESS TOWARDS SUCH GOALS IS SLOW.

The s a d f a c t i s t h a t t h e men a n d women who o p p o s e e q u a l i t y

OF OPPORTUNITY BETWEEN THE SEXES ARE I L L AT EASE IN A WORLD

WHERE MEN AND WOMEN ARE INCREASINGLY INTERCHANGEABLE IN

PERFORMING WORK, WHETHER AS SPOUSES, PARENTS OR COLLEAGUES.

Th a t w o r l d w i l l p a s s b y t h e o p p o n e n t s o f e q u a l i t y w i t h o u t

INTERFERING WITH THEM D IR E C T L Y , YET THEY HAVE THE ARROGANCE

TO CONTEND THAT THE L IF E S T Y L E AND RELATIONSHIPS WITH WHICH

THEY ARE COMFORTABLE OUGHT TO BE IMPOSED UPON OTHERS. APART

FROM THE IL L IB E R A L IS M OF THAT PR O P O S ITIO N , I T IS OBJECTIONABLE

BECAUSE I T IS SO OUT OF TOUCH WITH THE ASPIRATIO NS OF SO

MANY PEOPLE. FOR, MANY WOMEN DO NOT WISH TO GO ON PERFORMING

ALONE ALL THE DRUDGERY OF DOMESTIC CHORES, MANY DO NOT WISH

TO REMAIN T IE D TO IN S E N S IT I V E , S E LFIS H MEN AND DO NOT BELIEVE

I T TO BE IN THE INTERESTS OF T H E IR CHILDREN FOR THEM TO BE SO

OBLIGED. Ma n y WISH TO RECEIVE THE SAME D IG N IT Y WHICH IS REGARDED

BY MEN AS TH EIR R IG H T. SUCH PEOPLE SHOULD HAVE THE SAME RIGHTS

AS MEN AND I HAVE NO DOUBT THAT TH EIR RECORDS AS PARENTS WOULD

BE ENHANCED RATHER THAN D IM IN IS H E D I F BOTH THE DRUDGERY AND THE

GLAMOUR OF THE TOTAL FAMILY R E S P O N S IB IL IT IE S WERE SHARED EQUALLY.

Me a n w h i l e , n o n e o f t h e a d v o c a t e s o f e q u a l i t y i s g o i n g t o m a k e

EQUALITY COMPULSORY - THEY MERELY WANT I T AS AN OPTI ON FOR THEM

TO EXERCISE FREEDOM OF CHOICE.

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Al e x i s d e To c q u e v i l l e , w r i t i n g 1 5 0 y e a r s ago i n "De m o c r a c y

i n Am e r i c a " s a i d t h a t t h e Am e r i c a n s h a d o n l y two o p t i o n s w i t h

THE BLACKS - TOTAL EQUALITY WITH OR TOTAL ENSLAVEMENT TO

W HITES. HOW RIGHT HE PROVED TO BE. THE PARTIAL EQUALITY

GRANTED BY LINCOLN PRODUCED RACIAL M IL IT A N C Y U N T IL KENNEDY,

a nd Jo h n s o n a n d t h e U . S . Su p r e m e Co u r t c o m p l e t e d t h e g r a n t i n g

OF EQUALITY.

Pe r h a p s i t i s t h e s a m e w i t h w o m e n. Ha d we n o t g i v e n t h e m t h e

VOTE WE MIGHT NOT NOW BE ASKED TO SHARE WITH THEM THE DUTIES

OF BOTH THE PA ID AND UNPAID WORKFORCE. WE MIGHT INDEED HAVE

BEEN ABLE TO CONFINE THEM TO THE BEDROOM AND THE KITCHEN BUT

ALAS, WE WENT HALF-WAY AND THEY NOW WANT COMPLETE EQUALITY.