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Thursday, 1 March 2012
Page: 2511

Ms PARKE (Fremantle) (13:55): I rise to recognise the 101st celebration of International Women's Day, which will occur next week, on Thursday, 8 March, with the global theme 'Connecting Girls, Inspiring Futures'. On that day women in my electorate of Fremantle and elsewhere will gather to celebrate the contributions and achievements of women while acknowledging that there is more to be achieved and while committing to achieving those things together.

Important advances for Australian women in recent times include the momentous decision made by Fair Work Australia on 1 February 2012 with regard to pay equity for 150,000 social and community sector workers, 120,000 of whom are women. I hope that this landmark principle will flow on to benefit other sectors of the workforce that are predominantly staffed by women, including in aged care and child care. Other positive achievements include the introduction of the Australian government's Paid Parental Leave scheme, which came into effect on 1 January 2011; the introduction of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2022; the maintenance of 35.5 per cent female representation in Australian parliaments since December 2004; the commitment by Commonwealth nations at the recent CHOGM in Perth to end the practices of early and forced marriages of girls; and the announcement in February by Attorney-General Nicola Roxon of government plans to outlaw forced marriage.

It is important to acknowledge that there is still considerable progress to be made within Australia, especially in Indigenous, migrant and refugee communities, and in many developing countries, to ensure that women and children have the basic conditions for a stable life. (Time expired)