Senate debates

Wednesday, 5 March 2014


Gender Equality

5:05 pm

Photo of Mitch FifieldMitch Fifield (Victoria, Liberal Party, Assistant Minister for Social Services) Share this | Hansard source

The coalition is proud of its achievements for the advancement of gender equality. It was, after all, the former Howard government that passed laws in 1999 to create reporting requirements and establish the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency. When Mr Abbott was workplace relations minister the gender pay gap in Australia was at 15.3 per cent. But now, after six years of Labor, it is at 17.1 per cent. The government is also proposing a fair dinkum Paid Parental Leave scheme, holding a childcare review by the Productivity Commission and fleshing out individual flexibility agreements to allow for working women to better balance their work and family needs.

As a government, we do hold concerns about the minimum reporting standards that Labor created, which will take effect on 1 April. We know, for instance, that the compliance costs of the new standards will cost employers a further $9 million a year, regardless of whether they are good gender equality employers or not. We want to see genuine and meaningful change, not burdensome red tape that does not actually change behaviour.


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