House debates

Monday, 21 June 2021


Appropriation Bill (No. 1) 2021-2022; Consideration in Detail

5:56 pm

Photo of Sharon ClaydonSharon Claydon (Newcastle, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

My questions are directed to the minister representing the Minister for Women in the chamber today. I'd like to give a little bit of background to the so-called Women's Budget Statement and where we sit today in terms of addressing the real drivers of gender inequality in Australia. Let us not forget that Australia has fallen from 24th spot to 44th spot in the global gender equality rankings since the government was elected in 2013. That is Australia's worst result on record. We have fallen also from 13th spot to 49th spot on the economic participation and opportunity rankings. We have fallen from 69th spot to 104th spot on health and survival—worse than Turkey, Pakistan and Estonia.

The government has neglected and underfunded the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children. The government has failed to respond to or implement the recommendations in a long list of reports that have laid on government ministers' desks without response. First off, let's look at the 2016 COAG report on reducing violence against women and their children. We could look at the 2018 COAG summit statement, the 2019 Law Reform Commission report on family violence or the 2020 national inquiry into sexual harassment in Australian workplaces. We could look at A husband is not a retirement plan, the report of the Senate inquiry into women's economic security and employment back in 2016. We could go to the report of the inquiry into gender segregation in the workforce and its impact on women's economic equality—another Senate inquiry on causes of the gender pay gap. We could look at a committee that I have sat on since 2013 which has issued a number of reports—and I note that the chair now also shares with me a place on this committee—and that is the Social Policy and Legal Affairs committee. It issued a report on its inquiry into the family law system to better support and protect those affected by family violence. That was a report I handed down to this government at least three years ago from memory. A more recent one, which the Deputy Speaker and I handed down just before Easter, was the report of our inquiry into family domestic and sexual violence. There has only now been a response to the Human Rights Commission's Respect@Work report because of the extraordinary pressure that has been brought to bear on this government, rightly so, following the horrific allegations of sexual harassment that has taken place in this building and the government's extremely poor management on that front.

If we were under any doubt as to why Australian women voters have concerns about this government, we might also look at the ongoing steadfast refusal to support paid leave for women escaping family and domestic violence. Requests from the sector and women across Australia for 10 days paid leave into the National Employment Standards has been well documented, but there has been nothing from this government—no support whatsoever. Instead they have attempted to make women in crisis drain their superannuation accounts to fund their own escape plans from violent relationships. This year, for the first time ever since the now infamous minister for women Mr Tony Abbott scrapped the gendered budget statement, we've got a Women's Budget Statement in name only. This government has failed to recognise that there is a process called gender-responsive budgeting. It goes to deep structural inequalities, saying that every decision government makes about the way it collects its revenue and distributes its revenue should be run past a gender lens analysis. That is not part of this Women's Budget Statement. Let's not pretend this holds a candle to what we expect women's budget statements to look like in the future. I know we are limited for time, so I ask the minister whether or not she intends to reinstate a truly gendered lens in the future. (Time expired)


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