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Australia celebrates 25 years of women's rights.



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ATTORNEY-GENERAL THE HON ROBERT McCLELLAND MP

MINISTER FOR HOUSING, MINISTER FOR THE STATUS OF WOMEN THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP

NEWS RELEASE

Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600  Telephone (02) 6277 7300  Fax (02) 6273 4102 www.attorneygeneral.gov.au

27 July 066/2008

AUSTRALIA CELEBRATES 25 YEARS OF WOMEN’S RIGHTS

Tomorrow, 28 July 2008, marks the 25th anniversary of Australia’s ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

The Attorney-General, Robert McClelland and Tanya Plibersek, Minister for Housing and Status of Women, have welcomed this anniversary as a due reminder that every effort should be made to ensure the equal participation of women in all aspects of Australian society.

Nearly 200 countries have ratified the CEDAW and have used it as the basis for realising gender equality by working towards women's equal access to, and equal opportunities in, education, health and employment.

“CEDAW is based on the principle that true equality between women and men is a basic human right. The Rudd Government is committed to maximising opportunities for women to help build a more inclusive, safe, fair and unified Australia,” Mr McClelland said.

In the last 25 years, CEDAW has directly benefited Australian women. In particular, it provided the authority and momentum required to introduce legislation, such as the Sex Discrimination Act 1984, which made discrimination against women illegal.

In addition to the work accomplished under the Convention, the Rudd Government has also announced that it has commenced the process towards accession to the Optional Protocol to CEDAW. This Protocol would enable Australian women to complain to the United Nations if Australia violates its obligations under CEDAW and they have exhausted domestic remedies.

“The Rudd Government is committed to Australia being, once again, a leader in women’s rights locally and internationally and at the upcoming CSW will highlight initiatives it has taken to strengthen women’s rights in Australia since being elected earlier this year,” Ms Plibersek said.

In a clear signal of the Government’s commitment to women’s rights internationally, the Government will fund the participation of an Indigenous woman and an expert from the community sector to participate on the Government delegation to the UN Commission on the Status of Women, next year.

Attorney General News Release 2

Media Contact: Glen Paul, Mr McClelland’s Office, 0417 066 497 Darrin Barnett, Ms Plibersek’s Office, 0428 119 703