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2008 Media Release: Sex Discrimination Commissioner’s 'Listening Tour' in WA

Commission Commission – General

Friday, 14 March 2008

Sex Discrimination Commissioner’s 'Listening Tour' in WA

Western Australians have the chance to tell federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick how best to build a fair and equal society for women and men in Australia at a series of forums she is hosting in the state this week.

As part of her national ‘Listening Tour’, Commissioner Broderick expects her WA meetings will see paid maternity leave and sexual harassment identified as key issues as they have been elsewhere around the country.

"I want to hear from as many sections of Australian society as possible so I will be meeting with business, community and employee groups whose input will inform the next five years of my term as Commissioner,” Ms Broderick said.

“I want to know people’s ideas for how we can best achieve real economic independence for women, and how we can support women and men to better balance their work and family lives.

“And I also want to hear what people think are the necessary steps for an Australian society free from discrimination, harassment and violence,” Ms Broderick said.

The ‘Listening Tour’ includes a companion virtual tour, featuring an interactive website with a blog, case studies and videos. There is also a regular diary entry from the Commissioner on her findings as the tour progresses. The ‘Listening Tour’ can be found online at www.humanrights.gov.au/listeningtour/

WA Equal Opportunity Commissioner Yvonne Henderson has encouraged people to attend Commissioner Broderick’s ‘Listening Tour’ forums.

“It is clear that Australia still has some way to go towards achieving equality and being free from sexual discrimination,” Commissioner Henderson said. “I encourage Western Australians to share their experiences and ideas with the Federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner as she looks to how we as a nation can progress these issues."

Alison Preston, Director of Women in Social and Economic Research (WiSER), said it was a golden opportunity for people to take their concerns to the person charged with overcoming inequality between the sexes in Australia.

“This forum provides a ‘new’ opportunity for women to not only reassert gender onto the agenda, but to actively participate in addressing women’s continuing social, economic and political marginalisation," Professor Preston said.

The Perth consultation is being co-presented by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC), WiSER at Curtin University of Technology and the Equal Opportunity Commission, Western Australia.

The Perth Community Consultation Event is being held on Monday, 17 March, at the Curtin Graduate School of Business, 78 Murray Street (corner Pier Street ) Perth from 10.45am for 11.00am -1.00pm (light refreshments provided). RSVPs are essential to (08) 9266-7755. Women are invited to a lunchtime bbq consultation on Tuesday from 11.30 - 2.00pm at Marninwarntikura Women’s Resource Centre, Fallon Rd, Fitzroy Crossing.

Upcoming 'Listening Tour' dates: Northern Territory: 24-28 March; and Queensland: 14-18 April.

Media contact: Louise McDermott on (02) 9284 9851 or 0419 258 597