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Labor's agenda for advancing the status of women in Australia: all talk, no action

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Senator Michaelia Cash Senator for Western Australia Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for the Status of Women Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Immigration Media Release

44 Outram Street Parliament House Canberra


Phone: (08) 9221 8955 Phone: (02) 6277 3387

Labor's Agenda for Advancing the Status of Women in Australia:

All Talk, No Action

21 October 2010

The Labor Government has again demonstrated its commitment to spin over substance by confirming in Senate Estimates today that its statement that it will appoint at least 40% women on Government Boards was merely an aspirational target that it "hopes" to achieve by 2015.

Under questioning from the Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for the Status of Women, Senator Michaelia Cash, officials from the Office of Women confirmed that to date no transition planning has been undertaken to achieve the 40% target. Officials further confirmed that there was no guarantee that this target would be achieved.

“If Labor were genuinely serious about increasing female representation on boards it would have already undertaken the necessary transition planning. What Senate Estimates has revealed today is that like so many of Labor's policy statements, it does not have any feasible plan to make these changes become reality,” Senator Cash said.

Senator Cash also posed questions concerning Labor's statement in its 2007 National Platform that [if elected] it will "implement measures to….further reduce and ultimately eliminate the earnings gap between male and female workers."

Senator Cash asked Departmental Officials how this commitment sat with the reality that during Labor's time in office Australia has dropped 15 places in terms of wage equality. Australia was listed as 45th in the world by the World Economic Forum for wage equality between men and women in 2006, and in 2009, Australia was listed as 60th in the world under the same category, which put it behind countries like Sri Lanka and Tanzania.

The response given by Officials to this was “other countries have gotten better.”

Senator Cash said that the reality is "the wage gap is widening because the Labor Government, despite its rhetoric, has no real policies to address wage equality."

Senator Cash today exposed Labor's agenda for advancing the status of women in Australia: all talk no action.

Media contact: Marilyn Krawitz Media Adviser to Senator Michaelia Cash

0403 864 029