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Friday, 6 December 1985
Page: 3168

Senator VANSTONE —I direct my question to the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on the Status of Women. I refer the Minister to the article in Tuesday's Adelaide Advertiser headed `Sex bias claim goes to Ombudsman', which article detailed the position of Dr Christopher Farmer, who was formerly employed by the Adelaide University in a health service and who claims that the Adelaide University has discriminated against him on grounds of sex. If Dr Farmer's claim that the university clearly had decided before calling applications that only a woman would be chosen for the job is true, does that not represent a discriminatory policy determination and one that does not serve the legitimate aspirations and opportunities for both men and women?

Senator RYAN —Mr Deputy President, perhaps I should draw your attention to the fact that Senator Vanstone's question really takes the form of asking me for my opinion on a matter of State legislation. I would think the case that the honourable senator referred to would have been taken under State anti-discrimination legislation since it went to the State Ombudsman for investigation. I do not know anything about it. I have not seen the article in the Adelaide Advertiser so I really would not like to comment on it. I would just like to say in respect of the Federal Government that there are some exemptions in the Commonwealth Sex Discrimination Act under which it is possible to advertise specifically for a male or a female. I cannot recall what all of those exemptions are, but I refer Senator Vanstone to the Act. However, for general purposes advertisements should not specify gender but should simply specify the qualifications and experience needed for the job in question. I think that is the only helpful information I can give to Senator Vanstone. If the case to which Senator Vanstone refers was being pursued under the Federal Act, which I doubt from the way she has described it, I could seek further information from the Sex Discrimination Commissioner.