Equality – May 2023 Update

This Policy was updated in March 2024.

Gender equality is good for everyone. It makes our communities safer and healthier, and it is good for the economy.

Gender equality is pivotal to Australia’s progress – socially and economically. As a nation, we have an opportunity to restore Australia as a world leader in gender equality.  Women are not a minority and should not be treated as such. 

I will continue to work to push the Government further on gender equality policies to elevate women and girls, and as I promised, to speak up for those who are not in the room. 

To do this, we must intentionally focus on empowering all women and girls to have equal opportunities and pathways to secure jobs and take committed action to prevent and address gender-based violence.

Priorities

Women’s economic equality – Family and domestic violence, Women’s economic participation across their lifetime is less valued, secure and safe which leads to lower incomes, less job security, job segregation, lower super balances, lower wealth creation, and a higher likelihood of poverty. We must enable women’s workforce participation across all sectors. Women want secure work and respect, and that is exactly what I will continue to fight for as the Member for Goldstein.

Women’s safetyFamily and domestic violence, sexual assault and sexual harassment is not only harmful to women’s health and well-being. Gender-based violence is also a key barrier to women’s workforce participation and economic security. If the Government is serious about wanting to re-establish Australia as a global leader on gender equality, it must urgently address women’s safety. Everyone deserves to live and work free of violence. 

Achievements

  • Convened a Roundtable with industry, government, and community independents to reframe the opportunities via a White Paper for women in renewables, STEM, and construction for submission to the Office for Women.
  • Called for legislated gender pay gap transparency at the Jobs and Skills Summit in September 2022, now being legislated.
  • Won the government’s agreement to amend its National Reconstruction Fund legislation to ensure consideration for women in funding selected programs.
  • Added a gender lens to important legislation including the Fair Work Act, the Jobs and Skills Australia Act, and the National Reconstruction Fund Bill. This approach is needed to ensure that laws do not inadvertently perpetuate discrimination or inequality based on gender.
  • Brought the issue of eating disorders to federal parliament, calling for a better model of care for children and adolescents with the illness.

Aims

Further reforms are needed to ensure women’s economic participation and safety. I will continue to push the government further on:

  • A gender lens across all relevant legislation to consider gender as a factor in the development and evaluation of laws and policies.
  • Investment in well-paid, secure jobs in care sectors.
  • Restoring access to the Parenting Payment Single allowance to all single parents until their youngest child reaches 16 years of age. More than 95% of these recipients are women. When this is achieved, it will classify recipients as doing parenting work, rather than as being unemployed. Every woman should be able to live safely, afford the basics and fully participate in our society and economy.
  • Extending the superannuation guarantee to the Commonwealth Paid Parental Leave Scheme to help reduce the superannuation gap between men and women in retirement. 
  • A ‘use it or lose it’ provision in the 26-week Commonwealth PPL Scheme to encourage parents to share the leave and incentivise men to access the leave.
  • High quality universal, accessible, and affordable early childhood education and care delivered by properly paid educators.
  • A 10% wage supplement for ECEC educators in recognition of the historical undervaluation of their work and the urgent need to retain and attract workers to the sector.
  • Adequate funding for the new National Plan to Eliminate Violence Against Women and Children. A woman’s ability to access services to be safe after domestic violence or rape is critical and needs proper funding.
  • Making workplaces safe from sexual harassment.
  • Full implementation of the Set the Standard Report recommendations.
  • Sufficient funding for women’s housing and homelessness, particularly for older women.
  • Targets for female apprentices and female representation and leadership in the renewables sector.
  • More treatment options and prevention programs for people with eating disorders, and support for families.

The Goldstein community elected me on a platform of gender equality, among other things, and I will continue to fight for a society where people are equal.

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