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Monday, 29 February 2016
Page: 2379

Ms GAMBARO (Brisbane) (11:58): In the very short time I have available to me, I would like to thank the member for Griffith for raising this motion in parliament. International Women's Day is an important day to reflect on the issues around gender and on the role and the contribution that women play in Australia and around the world. I also want to acknowledge the work that is being done by the Minister for Women. I really look forward to the day that we do not need a Minister for Women, when we will have the same political, social and business status for all. I look forward to that.

I have come, today, from a launch by the Minister for Foreign Affairs on gender empowerment in the foreign aid program. I commend her and the department for the great work they are doing there. A great deal has been done to ensure that our foreign aid programs are embedded in health and education, and the economic areas, and to make sure that women are front and centre of those programs. We have come a long way but, sadly, there is a lot more to do, as the previous member has said. We have a lot more to do in our region, particularly in terms of the development of women and making sure that they have economic empowerment.

Last year, I attended a conference in Fiji where the domestic violence rates in our region, particularly in the Pacific, are at 60 to 70 per cent. There is more to do domestically in eliminating the scourge of domestic violence against women and children, and that has been a key priority of this government in implementing the $100 million Women's Safety Package. I hope that we will work together—both sides of politics—to make sure that those gender pay gaps close, that more women are on corporate boards and there is more representation in the political sphere, that these will be some things that we as a parliament can work on together in a bipartisan way.

Again, I thank the member for Griffith for this wonderful motion.

Debate interrupted.