Common Ground: Paid Maternity Leave

CPD’s Common Ground series got off to a great start on Wednesday 23 April 2008, with over 100 people joining us at Customs House in Sydney to hear Sharan Burrow (ACTU) and Tony Steven (Council of Small Business) discussing Paid Maternity Leave.


CPD fellows and subscribers joined representatives from business, industrial relations and women’s groups, as well as politicians, academics, and professionals from Sydney and around NSW. Natasha Stott Despoja flew in especially for the event.

CPD Director Miriam Lyons welcomed everyone, and fellow David McKnight introduced the Common Ground series, before Jackie Frank (of Marie Claire) took over to MC discussion between Sharan and Tony.

Despite their differences, our speakers entered into the spirit of Common Ground, identifying the components which they both felt were essential to a national paid maternity leave scheme before moving on to explore more detailed questions of the extent and implementation of such a scheme.


The Barnet Long Room was then the scene of lively discussion stimulated by
informed questions from Wendy McCarthy (Plan Australia), Bill Healey
(Australian Hotels Association), Eva Cox (CPD fellow) and Deborah
Brennan (Social Policy Research Centre, UNSW), among many others.

Photos by Patrick Gilling

Feedback from the event suggests that most people felt it was a really successful evening. We’d like to thank those who attended, or sent their apologies, as well as the sponsors who made it all possible: Slater and Gordon and City of Sydney.

Ideas for future Common Ground events can be added as comments below – tell us which unlikely bedfellows you’d like to see sharing the stage later in 2008…

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