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Tuesday, 16 November 1993
Page: 2956

(Question No. 621)


Senator Patterson asked the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, upon notice, on 28 September 1993:

  (1) Who appoints Australia's National Committee for the United Nations International Conference on Population and Development 1994.

  (2) Are the appointments to the National Committee made from recommendations made by any person(s) or body(ies); if so, please name them.

  (3) Was any reference made to the Register of Women in making the appointments to the National Committee; if not, why was no reference made to the Register of Women.

  (4) How were appointments made to the National Committee and please provide a copy of the selection criteria for the appointments.

  (5) Were any women considered for appointment to the Federal Committee; if not, why were no women considered for appointment to the Federal Committee.

  (6) If women were considered and rejected for appointment to the National Committee: (a) why were they rejected; and (b) what skills did the successful male applicants possess that the female applicants did not possess.

  (7) Was the party responsible for appointing the National Committee aware of the Federal Labor Caucus Motion of August 1988 requiring a minimum of a quarter of all members of committees to be women; if not, was this not raised; if so, why was it ignored.


Senator Bolkus —The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

  (1) I am responsible for making appointments to the National Committee for the United Nations International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), 1994.

  (2) Appointments were made taking into account recommendations put to me by the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, which consulted with other members of an interdepartmental committee (IDC) on population matters. Other agencies represented on the IDC comprise the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission, the Australian International Development Assistance Bureau, the Office of the Status of Women and the Departments of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Health, Housing, Local Government and Community Services; and Environment, Sport and Territories.

  (3) Yes.

  (4) See (1), (2) and (3) above. There were no specific selection criteria for the appointments.

  (5) Yes. Miss Lois O'Donoghue CBE AM, Chairperson of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission, and Dr Dorothy Howard Broom, National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, Australian National University, have accepted membership to the Committee.

  (6) No women were rejected because they lacked specific skills relative to men.

  (7) I am aware of those guidelines, and 11 out of the 25 National Committee members are women.