Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 17 May 1995
Parliamentary Record 10
Debates for 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997
Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES - Wednesday 17 May 1995 the lives of women, we start to move beyond even the barriers that are set up as by the book ideologies by some politically correct feminists. At that meeting, I addressed the twin factors of autonomy and fair and equitable treatment by society. It is only in the last 100 years or so that women in our society have been able to exercise their free will. Previously, their choices were limited by the patriarchal demands of family and society. A woman had no right to income in her own name and no right to her children. Furthermore, her husband had a right to beat her if he saw fit. We have certainly moved a long way away from that situation. In most cases nowadays, women are able to achieve custody of their children in circumstances of marital break-up. A woman may have the right and title to her own income and property, and domestic violence is being tackled as a crime and a pervasive social evil. While great battles have been waged to achieve the present situation in relation to these matters, in a sense this was the easier task. What we sought to move away from was clearly defined. Women at all levels of society could understand the goals and could set out on this section of the path. Things became a little more difficult when we moved away from that. The areas that we wish to move to now include political representation and influence, economic independence and influence, religious hierarchy and educational and scientific advancement and hierarchy. Economic independence and influence are really crucial to the advancement of women and to their status in society. Once we develop those aspects in our lives relating to economic independence, we will move far away from the situation of disempowerment and powerlessness that we see with some women in society today. I was very impressed by the array of materials provided by the Northern Territory Library in the opposition lobby and I am sure that a similar array was placed in the government lobby also. There was some documentation on juvenile justice. One of the reports states that, by and large, people in the prison system are unemployed people. It states that, irrespective of the racial or ethnic group from which you come, you are less likely to end up in the slammer if you are employed. If you have a job and economic status, you are well ahead in terms of empowerment. That is the challenge for women in our society today and one that we strive to meet. I would like to see more women in politics, but I believe women can exercise influence in the boardrooms as well. When we see that happening, we see true equality for women. Mr PERRON (Chief Minister): Mr Speaker, I rise, in the adjournment debate tonight - and members are aware that it is something that I seldom do - to put on record parts of a letter that I have received, because I believe it is important. The information I am about to read is from a letter which I have modified to ensure that the writer cannot be identified. For what will be obvious reasons, I wish to protect her privacy. The letter reads in part: Unlawful entry into my home, an assault and unlawful carnal knowledge occurred. Police assistance was sought. I write to you wishing for you to understand just what a professional bunch o f officers you have handling the sexual assault cases. I never imagined that I would be such a victim but, having survived and now rebuilding my life, I will be eternally grateful fo r such a wonderful group. Not only were the attending officers and detectives totally professional in conduct, but also sensitively impartial. Rape is something I believe every woman fears. Having to deal with such an horrific experience, then having to deal immediately with people one hasnt 3324
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