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Tuesday, 13 December 1983
Page: 3704


Senator WALTERS(10.01) —I would like to ask the Minister a question about another example that would apply to the Opposition's amendment. Consider the situation in which an employer is forced to retrench two women. The same argument would apply if he were employing two women. Should not that employer take into account the social situation of those women? Say that one of the women is married and her husband has a very good job with the same employer. Consequently that woman does not really need the job from a financial point of view. Say that the other woman is a single mother or a supporting mother with two or three children and in great need. She could be desperately in need of the job. Would the employer be discriminating if he were to say: 'Well, I am sorry. Because you are married and you have financial security I intend to keep on the supporting mother who is in desperate need of this job'. He could be making his decision solely on the ground of marital status. He could be discriminating in favour of a single woman who is greatly in need of financial assistance or who is not as secure financially as a married woman or a woman who is in a de facto relationship. Can the Minister comment on that situation?