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Thursday, 22 November 2012
Page: 9614

Senator RHIANNON (New South Wales) (20:58): Senator Cash has put no coherent argument about why coalition amendments should be supported and this legislation should be voted down. We have heard a few anti-union outbursts and off-the-mark questions, and Senator Cash's red tape complaints just do not stand up. The legislation before us puts minimal requirements on business.

The Greens do not support any of these amendments. The package of changes knocks out the advances for women in this bill. The amendments, if passed, would return us to the status quo, which is quite extraordinary. Having said that, the amendments are useful in that they provide a window into the coalition's policy for women and what a setback it would be for women if we ended up with an Abbott-led government. What Senator Cash has put on record tonight is that the coalition will not play a role to end discrimination and remove the disadvantage so many women still face. There is a lot of heavy lifting to be done to remove all the discrimination. Tonight provides a very small step, a small bit of lifting, and the coalition could not even come on board for that.