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Thursday, 26 June 2014
Page: 4029


Senator CASH (Western AustraliaAssistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women) (12:41): I seek leave to make a short statement.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Leave is granted for one minute.

Senator CASH: The coalition is proud of its achievements for the advancement of gender equality. It was, after all, the former Howard government which passed laws in 1999 to create reporting requirements and establish the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency. When Mr Abbott was workplace relations minister, the gender pay gap in Australia was at 15.3 per cent. Under the former Gillard government, it rose to 17.5 per cent. It currently stands at 17.1 per cent. Actions speak so much louder than words.

The government is also proposing a fair dinkum Paid Partial Leave scheme, holding a childcare review by the Productivity Commission and fleshing out individual flexibility arrangements to allow for working women to better balance their work and family needs. The government is genuinely interested in ensuring that we get the balance right on gender reporting, which is why we are currently engaging in wide-ranging consultations with employers, employees, their representatives and other stakeholders. The government opposes this motion.

Question agreed to.