Topics: More support for women with endometriosis; women in politics; electricity prices
Now to the Federal Government’s announcement this morning of more support for women living with endometriosis. The aim is to help the 10 per cent of Australian women who are diagnosed with the condition in the workplace.
Joining us live from Melbourne is the Health Minister, Greg Hunt. Good morning to you, Minister. You are pumping resources into workplace education. Tell us, what exactly are you doing and how is it going to help these women?
So, endometriosis affects about 700,000 women in Australia. It can be an agonising and chronic condition, and it’s been clothed in silence for too long, so we want to lift that silence both in the workplace and in the practice where women are looking for medical help.
So there are really two big things we’re doing. One is to help employers and then, most importantly, as a result of that, women with those employers, who have endometriosis, to have better understanding in the workplace.
And if they have better understanding, they’re more likely to seek treatment. Too many women have had to suffer in silence for too long.
And secondly to help the doctors and nurses have better training and therefore be able to deliver better diagnosis and treatment.
(inaudible) but speaking of understanding for women in the workplace, how are you supporting the women in your workplace, in your party, who say that they were bullied in the recent leadership vote? What are you personally doing to support them?
Well, for myself, I’ve long been a very strong, strong advocate of women within the Parliament. I’ve supported people such as Sarah Henderson and Mary Wooldridge, we’ve had Nicolle Flint, Georgina Downer, so many others that I’ve been advocates or referees for.
In this case, I know the Prime Minister is looking at it very, very closely and directly, and I think that’s exactly the right thing to do.
And within my broader portfolio we’ve just appointed a new National Mental Health Commission, three quarters female participation, a new Cancer Australia board, 62 per cent female participation. So this is a deep, strong, personal passion of my own.
So, do you think there are enough women in your party in the Parliament?
No. I don’t think we’ll be at the right place until we have parity, that’s 50 per cent, plus or minus 5 per cent in either direction over time because these things will ebb and flow.
But the target, the goal, the objective absolutely has to be to have your best team on the field. In any sport, if half your team is in the dressing room, you’re not at your best.
All right, now, I want to ask you about the National Energy Guarantee, because that’s something the Prime Minister has come out this morning dropping. Is this a case of scraping off the barnacles and appeasing the right wing of the party?
No, it’s a practical approach to a very simple issue and that is: we will do everything we can to lower electricity prices and the Opposition will do everything they can to increase electricity prices.
They’ve got a policy to increase the cost of electricity for Australian families and pensioners and others. We’ve got a policy to decrease it, and as part of that we’re focusing on cost and reliability. We’ll meet our emissions targets but we won’t do it through putting pressure on electricity prices.
All right. There’s plenty of political issues around this morning. I want to ask you now about the row between Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton and the former Border Force boss Roman Quaedvlieg.
Mr Dutton has said that he was offering support for any mental health issues that Mr Quaedvlieg may have. As the Health Minister, do you think that’s a fair comment for Mr Dutton to be making?
Look, I think what we do is we ensure that there is support for everybody who has worked with the Commonwealth in any circumstance.
I don’t know the gentleman in question, I’ve not met him and I’m not aware of his particular circumstances. I know it’s been a difficult situation for everybody involved.
But should the Minister be raising his mental health issues in a public forum, alleged mental health issues, if he has any.
I wouldn’t interpret it that way, respectfully.
All right, Health Minister Greg Hunt there. Plenty on the agenda in federal politics at the moment. Parliament resumes on Monday and we’ll all be watching with interest how the new Prime Minister handles things. Thank you for your time this morning.