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Monday, 14 October 2019
Page: 3828

Dr LEIGH (Fenner) (13:54): Today is Jasiri Australia's Girls Takeover Parliament day, an event I'm pleased to be part of for the third year running. The program is organised by Caitlin Figueiredo and it aims to inspire a new generation of young women to be our nation's future political leaders. The program has introduced 260 young women to politicians across Australia, Tonga and Fiji, and there are 60 young women and girls participating in today's program.

ANU student Brianna Partington has joined my office. She grew up in Ceduna, South Australia, and her interest in politics came at a young age, when she realised that it wasn't always replicated among her female peers. Brianna believes there is a significant lack of interest in politics among young women in her area, and she wants to work to change that.

We need to do more to attain gender equality in Australia. In today's parliament, on the Labor side, the share of women is just under half, but among the Liberals it is less than a quarter. In the Australian workplace, half of all workers are women, but, among CEOs, just one in six are women, according to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency. Thirty-five per cent of boards and governing bodies have no female directors.

It's clear we must actively encourage young women to pursue leadership roles in politics and in broader society. Today has been extraordinarily insightful, and I thank Brianna and her colleagues for all they have done through the day.