Transcript by The Hon Julie Collins MP

Sky News Day, interview with Celina Edmonds

Program: Sky News Day

E & OE – Proof only

CELINA EDMONDS: It is International Women’s Day and the Minister for the Status of Women, Julie Collins has launched a national action plan on women, peace and security. And she joins me now from our Sydney studio.
Minister thank you very much for your time on Newsday.

JULIE COLLINS: Thank you Celina

CELINA EDMONDS: Tell us about this action plan. Do we really need another plan? I think women, we don’t really like to have to go through so much red tape and plans do we? We want the action and not the plan [laughs].

JULIE COLLINS: Well this action plan is actually in recognition of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325, which really is about involving women and girls in the solutions to conflict and in the peace areas overseas, where women and girls – latest UN data shows around ninety per cent of the victims of recent conflicts have been women and their children.

So it’s about ensuring that women and girls are involved in the peace process and lasting peace processes in these countries. Because at the moment a lot of the discussions and the peace resolution are done by men, even though the disproportionate effect on conflict is on women.

CELINA EDMONDS: Julie Collins I don’t know if you can hear that loud piercing ringing noise, I hope, I think we’ve just managed to fix it. And I apologise for that audio problem. But how are we progressing on International Women’s Day? I know we look at it as an international day and many of the events around that look to efforts overseas but what about in Australia?

Because I notice the Australian School of Business was paying tribute to you and the efforts that you’re making towards gender equality being reflected in the law. How are we going on that level in Australia?

JULIE COLLINS: Well we’re certainly as a government doing a lot. Last week I introduced Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Amendment Bill which is about gender equality in workplaces. It’s about driving cultural change. It’s also about companies recognising the economic benefits of including women on their boards and in their companies in the highest levels of their companies.

It’s about CEOs understanding what the gender makeup of their workplace are and what they’re remunerating their employees of various genders and the levels that that is at. So it’s about driving cultural change. We’ve also been doing a whole range of other things. The Government obviously made amendments to the Fair Work Act that allowed the recent Fair Work decision in relation to equal pay for work of equal value for the community sector workers.

Around one-hundred-and-fifty thousand workers will get a pay rise because of that change. There’s no doubt we have more to do but we’re certainly making progress. We also have a target for women on Government boards of forty, forty, twenty, so forty women, forty men and the remainder can be of either gender.

So we are progressing slowly towards gender equality in this country. We have come a long way. There’s obviously still more to do but I think it’s also a day of celebrating what we have achieved to date.

CELINA EDMONDS: Minister I know you’ve got a hectic schedule of events today to get to. Thank you very much for your time on Newsday.

JULIE COLLINS: Thank you Celina.

CELINA EDMONDS: And we apologise for the audio issues with that interview. Time now for all the sport with Sam Squires and the Australians preparing to take…

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