Where Are The Policies For Women?

We’ve heard a lot in this election about paid parental leave — but how well do the policies of the Australian Labor Party, the Coalition, and the Greens meet the broader needs of women? While there has been progress, there is still much work to be done, writes Emma Davidson

Violence against women continues to be a real problem for women from all socio-economic groups and cultural backgrounds. While the Government’s National Action Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and Their Children is a very significant step toward addressing the relentless epidemic of violence against women and girls, some parties have not committed to adequate and long term funding for the plan.

Both the ALP and Coalition’s Paid Parental Leave policies have been debated in the media, but the Greens also have a policy that meets the recommendations of women’s organisations. Women want paid parental leave that is fully costed and comprehensively funded, flexible and extended up to six months, includes superannuation and a paternity leave component.

Pay equity is still a problem, with women working full time earning, on average, only 83 cents in the dollar earned by men. While all three parties have made public statements about the importance of pay equity, not all parties have a commitment to reduce the gender wage gap. This includes a commitment to meeting the recommendations in the House of Representatives Report Making It Fair, as well as fair work conditions and equal pay for community sector workers.

One fundamental area that needs work from both the ALP and Coalition is a Human Rights Act for Australia, bringing domestic laws in line with our international obligations. In fact, the Coalition has indicated it will not fund an initiative to consolidate and strengthen anti-discrimination laws.

Health is another burning issue for women. While the ALP has promised a National Women’s Health Policy, they have failed to deliver the funding to implement it. In a disturbing step backwards for women’s right to choice over their own healthcare, the ALP and Coalition passed legislation that gives private doctors the right to veto a woman’s informed choice to access private midwifery care.

Time is running out for women in the 2010 Federal Election. Can we put gender equality on the agenda and make women count?

More Than Luck is a collection of ideas for citizens who want real change edited by Mark Davis and CPD Executive Director Miriam Lyons. A to-do list for politicians looking to base public policies on the kind of future Australians really want, More Than Luck shows what’s needed to share this country’s good luck amongst all Australians – now and in the future. Click here to find out more. Like what you’ve read? Donate to help make good ideas matter.

Blog Comments

Labor promises to have at least 40% women on all Federal Boards–this is a major step towards recognition of women’s place in the economy. We will push for amendment to the Corporations Act to get at least 40% women on Boards of all Public Companies. This initiative means women will be seen as important in initiatives to train and mentor women for top positions.
Labor’s Super Clinics are being rolled out and are very much appreciated by busy women.
Nurses in GP set ups are also a great help–I have used them myself.
Training apprentices for both young women and men will be very important for all families.
And altho there are still not enough child care centres in some areas, the ones my 3 year old grandchildren attend are wonderful.
I think it’s time we appreciated the work done by Labor in the past 2 years rather than moaning all the time.

[…] network in Australia. Got a couple of things published in the lead-up to the Federal Election, at the Centre for Policy Development (a left-wing thinktank) and at Australian Women Online. In my own writing work, I have been working […]

Leave a Comment