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Wednesday, 25 September 2002
Page: 4799

To the Honourable the President and Members of the Senate in Parliament assembled. The Petition of the undersigned shows:

· Our concern that Australia is now one of only two OECD countries without a national scheme of paid maternity leave;

· Our concern about the two-thirds of Australian working women who currently lack any paid support on the birth of a child;

· Our strong support for the adoption of a national scheme of paid maternity leave for Australian working women at the earliest opportunity;

· Our belief that paid maternity leave is an employment-related measure that recognises, first and foremost, the benefits of at least 14 weeks paid leave for working mothers, their children and their families, along with its contribution to equal opportunity at work, productivity, and women's employment security and attachment.

Your Petitioners request that the Senate should at the earliest opportunity pass legislation to provide a national system of paid maternity leave which recognises the principles of ILO Convention 183, and provides at least a 14 week payment for working women at the level of their normal earnings (or at least at the minimum wage), with minimal exclusions of any class of women, and a significant contribution from Government.

by Senator Stott Despoja (from 32 citizens).