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The role of the federal government in matters of interest to women



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MINISTER F O R ADMINISTRATIVE S E R V I C E I-Π. i\ 7 1 ν,ττ O - · : ; · ·ri;

FOR THE NEWS ..

MI NI STER ASSISTING THE MINISTER FOR D E F E N C E .

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In recent weeks- I have received a number of letters f r o m . readers

questioning the role of the Federal Government in matters which

are of specific interest to women. ^ ‘ . - ■

Consistent with other policies designed to help-people at a

personal level, the Federal Government is also actively involved

in helping women.fulfil their aspirations through the Office.of

Women's Affairs. ··, ' ■ ' . · - , '.·â– ·. ' . . . ■ ; " . · . ■'- '■

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The Commonwealth does not seek to compete with State agencies V 7. v . :v

such as rape crisis centres but to provide the national .framework ;

for women to achieve their personal goals by contributing to f

national policies. ' : .; V . ' / · ; ■

These matters form part of the portfolio responsibilities of the

Minister for Home Affairs, Mr. Bob Ellicott, and all proposed

legislation is examined;by his Department to measure its .impact,

on women. · .

A W o m e n ’s Affairs Branch was first established as a small section

in the Prime Minister's Department in 1974. The office was .

given the status of a Branch after the Fraser Government took . ' · . .

office and in 1976 a Minister was appointed to assist the

Prime Minister in Women's Affairs.. ' V

The Office provides the usual means of direct assistance and

advice to women on virtually anything, but women are also .

invited to provide advice specifically on proposed new laws .

or,' for that matter, old laws, which need changing. ·.

There is direct contact between the Office of Women's Affairs,

and numerous other Departments including Defence, Education,

Employment and Youth Affairs., Foreign Affairs, Social. Security

and the Public Service Board.

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In Canberra, .there is a Shop Front Information · Service- / ‘ a

possible pilot for similar facilities around Australia.

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Women may give their views to this service on virtually .

anything, especially Government policy. Views expressed are

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relayed to the Government by the Office of Women's Affairs.

The Office of Women's Affairs, which runs the shop front service,

can.be telephoned in Canberra on 062/467260. The shop front . =

number is 062/467266. The address of the Office of Women's

Affairs is C/- Department of Home Affairs, P.O. Box 1252, . .

Canberra City, 2601. . ...

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Other areas of contact involve direct liaison with the Federal

Government through representation on a number of committees, ·

liaison with State Governments, and direct links with the ■

community generally through women'.s organisations.

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Last year the Government appointed a 12 member national tiomen's.

•Advisory Council to give advice.on the home, the work force

and the community - Mrs. Judy Roberts is the South Australian

representative. . . " . · ■ : ·

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There is also a Women's Film Fund to provide financial support,-;/ ;/

through the Australian Film Commission, for films by, for or

about women. . . . ' ■ . ' ■-·

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In line with Government policy to give more equitable

representation to Women on public boards, committees and

commissions, there is an official register of women who are

qualified and willing to give such public service. · .

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On the international scene the Office of Women's Affairs directly

participates in preparing reports for Australia's delegations

at the United. Nations. . · · · k · .

The Government' s. official office representing women is also ,

involved in trying to.overcome difficulties for migrant women'

at home, at work, with their health and child care. - ■ . ; · .

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The Office and the Women's Advisory Council work together in

·advising the Government and recommending legislative changes,

take account of domestic violence, the status of women at home,

education and employment, amongst other things. · '

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Currently, at the request of the Government, specific proposals

are being prepared to prohibit discrimination in Federal law '

• because of sex or marital status. . .

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