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Thursday, 7 May 1987
Page: 2873

Mrs KELLY(10.19) —I congratulate the National Party of Australia for at least being consistent in its opposition to this clause, to this legislation, and to the basic principles of equal opportunity. At least we know where we stand with the National Party. It opposes a fair go for women. It does today, it always has and it always will.

Mr Tim Fischer —We support promotion on merit.

Mrs KELLY —We can see that demonstrated in this chamber. Promotion on merit is what this legislation is all about, and that is what the National Party is opposing. That provision is in the clause that it is opposing tonight. We see all the prejudices coming out in the speeches of members of the National Party. We see why we need this legislation. Members of the National Party have been saying: `Why do we need all this? We believe that women get a fair go'. Look around the Opposition benches. Where are the women in the National Party?

Mr Ian Cameron —We welcome them.

Mrs KELLY —The honourable member for Maranoa knows where they are. He says they are all in the kitchen or in the other room, not here in the Parliament.

Mr Ian Cameron —On a point of order, Mr Deputy Chairman: I ask the honourable member for Canberra to withdraw that statement. I have never said that the place of women is in the other room.

Mr Robert Brown —You did.

Mr Ian Cameron —I have not.

Mrs KELLY —In a speech.

Mr Ian Cameron —I have not. I ask that the honourable member for Canberra withdraw that comment.

Mrs KELLY —I will not withdraw it because the honourable member said it.

Mr Ian Cameron —I did not.

The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Mildren) —Order! The honourable member for Maranoa will resume his seat. Unless the honourable member for Canberra can come up with the evidence, I suggest that she withdraw that statement.

Mrs KELLY —He said it in a speech in the House when he spoke on an equal opportunity Bill in September last year.

The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN —Order! The honourable member for Canberra will withdraw it.

Mrs KELLY —I will withdraw it.

Mrs Darling —On a point of order, Mr Deputy Chairman: I believe that under Standing Orders if it was not an offensive statement there was no need to withdraw it.

The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN —The honourable member has withdrawn it. I call the honourable member for Canberra.

Mrs KELLY —We are supporting these clauses because we believe that the wool industry is so important to this country. It has been historically important, and it will be important in the future. That is why we want all Australians to have the right to participate in such an important industry. Members of the Opposition mentioned some of the costs that may be incurred in implementing some of the clauses of this legislation. If, like every other corporation in this country, the Australian Wool Corporation has proper management training, the inclusion of programs such as those that are outlined in these clauses would become part of the management training. Surely the cost is all about training the best people to their full potential. That is how one gets the best value for money. That is what this legislation is all about. It ensures that every Australian has the opportunity to participate in an industry that is so important to this country. Surely the industry will benefit from all Australians having the opportunity to develop and participate to the fullest. If we do not develop the talents of all Australians this industry, like all other industries in this country, will not be able to compete against those of other countries.

Mr Peter Fisher —You're drawing a long bow now.

Mrs KELLY —It is not a long bow. That is what this is all about. It simply involves promoting on merit but developing programs to ensure that all the groups that are referred to-not only women but also migrant people, the handicapped and Aboriginals-have an opportunity.

Mr Conquest —We're with you.

Mrs KELLY —If they are with us why do they not vote with us? That is what it is all about. The trouble with members of the National Party is that they say that democracy is all right, that a fair go is all right for everyone else but not for women; they are a bit beyond that. Again look at them-there are no women over there. They should give a few women the right to sit in Parliament.

It is important that we realise that these clauses contain nothing sinister. They involve no attempt to kick out the men and put the women in. All these clauses say is: `Give women a fair go'. That is what equal employment opportunity is all about-give women the same chance for a fair go as men have had. I do not think anyone in this chamber would deny that women in Australia, and in the rural sector in particular, have played an important and fundamental part not only in the development of the wool industry in this country but in the development of the whole rural sector. Give them a fair go. What are National Party members afraid of? Are they afraid that women might end up taking their places in this Parliament and in the wool industry? If they have the talent, give them a chance.