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Tuesday, 8 March 2005
Page: 51

Senator STOTT DESPOJA (3:54 PM) —I move:

   That the Senate—

(a)   notes that:

(i)   8 March is International Women’s Day,

(ii)   the Women’s Rights Action Network Australia recently gave Australian governments a D-minus for their handling of women’s human rights,

(iii)   the Government intends to discontinue funding to the Partnerships Against Domestic Violence program, including the Australian Domestic and Family Violence Clearinghouse, after 30 June 2005,

(iv)   the Government is likely to halve funding in the 2005-06 financial year to the National Initiative to Combat Sexual Assault program, which may result in the Australian Centre for the Study of Sexual Assault being forced to close after 30 June 2005,

(v)   according to forward estimates contained in the 2004-05 Budget, the Government plans to spend just $3.4 million in the 2005-06 financial year on women’s programs, compared to an estimated $11.6 million in the 2004-05 financial year and $25 million in the 2003-04 financial year,

(vi)   Australia remains one of only two Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries without a national scheme of paid maternity leave, and two-thirds of working women (mostly those in lower paid positions) do not have access to paid leave on the birth of a child,

(vii)   Australia continues to have one of the lowest female workforce participation rates in the OECD,

(viii)   women’s full-time, ordinary time earnings are still only 85 per cent of men’s while women’s total earnings, including part-time and casual employees, are only 66 per cent of men’s, and these rates have changed little since the Howard Government was first elected in 1996, and

(ix)   women hold only 10.2 per cent of executive management positions and only 3.2 per cent of the top executive positions in Australia, and women who are in senior management positions are paid around 90 per cent of their male counterparts; and

(b)   calls on the Government to do more for women and, in particular, to continue to fund the Australian Domestic and Family Violence Clearinghouse and the Australian Centre for the Study of Sexual Assault after 30 June 2005.

Question agreed to.