MARCH 4 JUSTICE

I rise to make a contribution to the house. I, too, commend the March 4 Justice program this week, which was to acknowledge across Australia, largely by women but supported strongly by men, some of the inequities that still apply to women in our community. I think it is important, as I have said in this house several times this week, that we do listen and that we do understand that people will not be silenced, and this needs to be addressed.

Whilst the preceding member indicated concerns about the inappropriate language that has been addressed to her, I could spend the entire afternoon giving you a litany of the occasions on which my dress, appearance, attendance or contribution have been criticised and spoken of in a most disgusting manner, even in this house. I am not going to bother to go through that again. It was by former members. In the rough-and-tumble of debate, the robustness of those contributions has to be taken into account, but some of it has been indecent and objectionable and disgusting. I am not going to waste time going through it all. I abhor it. I think it is disgraceful if it is imposed on others.

What has then translated is that somehow or other the contribution of the government in the last three years has minimised, by alleged cutting towards programs—which has been traversed at previous estimates and again today in question time and which is rejected, but nevertheless—the application of the funds. It seems that the opposition's greatest complaint in that area is not what has been cut but who actually continues to provide the service. Even when a service continues, if it is not by a group or someone they endorse or like, they come back to complain about it.

That does not resolve the issue for women. We have made on this side a commitment to women. The Premier appointed, particularly in relation to domestic violence, our very own member for Elder to undertake a ministerial contribution in that regard because it is important to us that we deal with it. There are many programs that we have done and there are many extra services that we have pursued. Why? Because it matters.

We do know that sometimes we have to provide extra services, whether it is housing or whether it is the provision of a place for legal services or advice. Yarrow Place, for example, now has $1 million over a year to respond to a program for women and children and to extend that across the state. These are services that are at the bottom of the cliff, as they say, and we do understand the need for that, but we are also here to advance legislation that is going to improve the lives of women and children in this state.

Can I say that, whilst there has been reference to the sexual harassment and discrimination report of the acting equal opportunity commissioner in respect of this place, that is, the parliament, as we speak the equal opportunity commissioner is undertaking a review in respect of women legal practitioners. This is another area of angst. It flows specifically and publicly from the allegations of a sexual assault, an abuse and an exploitation by women associates of a former High Court judge at the highest level in the country.

It has been replicated back here on the Chief Justice undertaking work, the Law Society of South Australia, the Bar Association and a number of women's legal organisations saying, 'Well, we want a full inquiry into this,' and that is precisely what has happened, and the government is ensuring that support is given to this agency to make sure it happens. Yes, we are committed on this side of the house to make provision by law for better protection for women and children to ensure in our policies that they are effective and to ensure that there is funding support to make sure that they can be populated and produced.

There is no-one more committed to women having opportunity in the future, and I repeat what I live by—that is, we must as parents and guardians do everything we can to educate our girls and teach our boys.