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Australian Greens congratulate PNG for women’s rights bill

Media Release
Lee Rhiannon 25 Nov 2011

Australian Greens Leader Bob Brown and Senator Lee Rhiannon congratulate the advocates for women in Papua New Guinea for the years of effort that have paved the way for an amendment to the country’s constitution to change the male-dominated Parliament before next year’s election.

 “The passage this week of the Equality and Participation Bill will mean that a clause can be added into the Constitution to establish women-only seats, taking affirmative action to combat unequal opportunity,” Senator Brown said.

“This initiative provides a model that other Pacific nations can adopt to ensure fair representation of women in parliament,” Senator Rhiannon said.

“PNG Greens Leader Dorothy Tekwie is working to ensure people also get help to protect one of their most important assets: the land. As she said during her recent visit to Australia, land not only provides mineral wealth, but also the food, water and living environment people rely on,” Senator Brown said.

“Advocates are also working to improve representation at the provincial and local government level in a place where the muscle of foreign-owned corporations too often overrides local needs,” Senator Brown said.

Senator Brown and Senator Lee Rhiannon have given notice of this motion:

That the Senate –
(a)     congratulates the parliament of Papua New Guinea for passing, by an overwhelming majority, the constitutional amendment to create 22 reserved seats for women in its national parliament;
(b)     recognises the leadership and hard work of the women of Papua New Guinea, who have been advocating for this reform for many years;
(c)     acknowledges that the next step is enabling the legislation that will create the 22 new reserved seats for each province; and
(d)     looks forward to seeing the reforms finalised in time to allow women candidates to stand for these seats in the 2012 national election.

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