Media Release by The Hon Julie Collins MP

Campbell Newman sets women back 30 years

The Queensland Premier’s removal of the title of Minister for Women and his insulting comments in attempting to defend his decision has thrown the cause of women back thirty years, the Federal Minister for the Status of Women, Julie Collins, said today.

“Campbell Newman is displaying the type of attitude that is preventing women from achieving equality at work and in the community,” Ms Collins said.

“It’s bad enough that he’s abolishing a position that has been part of the Australian political landscape for 30 years, his derisory comments in Townsville yesterday went beyond what is expected of a State leader.”

Campbell Newman as quoted in the Townsville Bulletin today:

The Labor Party is into labels and tokenism, we’re into reality and outcomes.

What are we going to call it? The minister for communities, disabilities, blah blah blah, and women? And what else are we going to tack on?

“Women are half the population – not a tack on,” Ms Collins said.

“The reality is one of the unfortunate consequences of the recent Queensland election is that the number of women MPs has been halved.

“The reality is there are only three women in the Campbell Ministry of 19 – less than 16 per cent.

“The reality is the title Status of Women has been part of our political scene since the Labor Government of Bob Hawke first appointed a Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on the Status of Women in 1983.

“The Coalition continued the position with the same title when it won government in 1996.

“In contrast, the current Federal Opposition has made the Status of Women only a Parliamentary Secretary position.

“Mr Newman’s comments appear in the same newspaper – and I applaud its coverage today – formerly run by the now ex media adviser to Queensland Senator Ian Macdonald.

“He was the adviser who emailed a sexist rant to a female academic who had correctly pointed out the dire representation of women in the Queensland Parliament.

“Campbell Newman should realise these attitudes have serious consequences – they hold back the change needed to achieve gender equality in the workplace and the community.

“The Gender Equality Act I have introduced into the Parliament aims to encourage cultural change so women and men have equal access to opportunity at work.

“Campbell Newman shows how hard this cultural change can be.”