House debates

Thursday, 18 March 2021

Questions without Notice

Indigenous Australians

3:11 pm

Photo of Rick WilsonRick Wilson (O'Connor, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Minister for Indigenous Australians. Will the minister outline to the House how the Morrison government is empowering Indigenous women across the nation?

Photo of Ken WyattKen Wyatt (Hasluck, Liberal Party, Minister for Indigenous Australians) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the member for O'Connor for his continued support and interest in the issues that impact on our people. I want to start with a comment from a survey of 4,000 Aboriginal families in Western Australia that was undertaken by the Telethon Kids Institute. The point they made that was the most salient was that a young girl who did not finish year 10 would live a life with all the detriments, she would experience violence and she would experience disempowerment.

Education is important, and that's an important factor that we've been building into the work that we're doing as a government. Target 13 of the Closing the Gap strategy—it's is Closing the Gap Day today—targets activity around women and children to create safe environments. More importantly, we've got to go back to those year 10 girls that have left school and look at the ways of empowerment. There is $99.6 million to support education, leadership, health and wellbeing outcomes for girls and young women, because that builds the capacity. There is $72.4 million for the academic and mentoring projects to improve year 12 attainment and get students into post-school pathways. There is $25 million for the Indigenous girls' science, technology, engineering and mathematics academy. These all culminate together to make a difference.

As the member for Barton would know, in our movements or in our communities, our women are our strength. But if they are disempowered and cannot participate, then they are disadvantaged. Professor Colin Bourke did a study that showed that when mothers were engaged in education, their children took the same pathway. The empowerment for their children came because of the modelling. That's the work that we need to continue to focus on.

There is a further $75 million for family violence prevention legal services to allow our women to find the supportive measures that protect them and their children. There is a further $13.8 million invested in Indigenous women's programs, legal services and supplementary legal assistance because, again, it is important that we focus on family. But the other thing that's important is the work that Commissioner June Oscar has done. Through roundtables, 2,003 women were involved in providing their voices to identify areas that government must listen to, to allow women to be empowered, to break the circuits that are detrimental to the community, to their family and to their children. So we will work, as the other side has done, to strengthen our women, give them a voice and let them be active participants.

Photo of Scott MorrisonScott Morrison (Cook, Liberal Party, Prime Minister) Share this | | Hansard source

Mr Speaker, I ask that further questions be placed on the Notice Paper.

3:15 pm

Photo of Anthony AlbaneseAnthony Albanese (Grayndler, Australian Labor Party, Leader of the Opposition) Share this | | Hansard source

on indulgence—Can I associate Labor with the comments of the minister, on behalf of the shadow minister, and inform him that today Marion Scrymgour has been selected as Labor's candidate for Lingiari. She's someone with an extraordinarily proud history of representing Indigenous women in the NT parliament. I look forward to her joining this parliament to do the same.