Wednesday, 5 March 2014
I seek leave to amend general business notice of motion No. 155 standing in my name.
I amend the motion in the terms circulated in the chamber and move the motion as amended:
That the Senate—
(i) that at the UN Women’s International Women’s Day parliamentary breakfast on 4 March 2014 the Prime Minister (Mr Abbott) stated:
(A) Australian women have a ‘pretty good deal’,
(B) the more we can ensure that women are economic, as well as social and cultural contributors, the better for everyone, and
(C) this nation has smashed just about every glass ceiling, but we need to do more - we need to do more,
(ii) that there is still a 17 per cent gap in pay between Australian men and women,
(iii) the Workplace Gender Equality Agency is now collecting and analysing data from eligible businesses which will enable employers to develop better gender equality strategies,
(iv) the important work done by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, including the collection of critical gender workplace reporting data needed to address the gender pay gap in Australia, and
(v) that continued collections of such data will provide evidence of improvements over time; and
(b) recognises and congratulates the Workplace Gender Equality Agency on its work since inception of the reporting data on gender equality indicators.
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.