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Thursday, 24 May 2018
Page: 4585

Ms RYAN (LalorOpposition Whip) (13:52): I rise today to draw to the attention of the House the parlous state of female representation on the other side of this chamber. It is nothing but shocking. When we came back from the last election, we were shocked to see that swarm of men coming into the chamber. We are shocked to hear that those numbers are likely to go backwards in terms of women's representation in this place after the next election. We talk about merit. I've had a bit of a think about this. What do you get when female representation approaches 50 per cent? What do you get when it approaches 35 per cent? I'll tell it what you get. You get a 'sorry' and you get movement on reconciliation. You get Closing the Gap to measure outcomes. You get a quality framework for early education and child care. You get needs based funding for schools. You get subacute beds and preventive health measures. You get a royal commission into institutional child abuse. What you get is policy that focuses on the quality of people's lives. What you get is an understanding that your pay check does not necessarily reflect how hard you work—something the others have trouble understanding. What you don't get are budget cuts to social programs and tax cuts to be business.