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Thursday, 12 August 2004
Page: 26261

To the Honourable President and Members of the Senate in Parliament assembled:

We the undersigned citizens believe that paid maternity leave is a workplace entitlement for Australian women. It overcomes the disadvantage and inequity women face as a result of the biological imperative for women to break from the workforce when they have a child.

We recognise that the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention 183 on Maternity Protection provides women with the right to 14 weeks paid maternity leave and Australia is now one of only two OECD countries without a national scheme of paid maternity leave.

Your petitioners request that the Senate should at the earliest opportunity pass legislation to provide a national system of Government-funded paid maternity leave which provides at least a 14 week payment for working women at least at the minimum wage, with the ability to be topped up to normal earnings at the workplace level with minimal exclusions of any class of women.

by Senator Stott Despoja (from 20 citizens).