Tim PALLAS (Werribee – Treasurer, Minister for Industrial Relations, Minister for Trade and Investment) (09:40):

In recognition of International Women’s Day on 8 March, I rise to acknowledge the contribution of two exemplary women in my electorate of Werribee. This year’s theme is about embracing equity. Christine Mackaness and Monica Raizada embody this through their support for Wyndham families.

Christine is a co-coordinator for the Birdcage community store, which helps hundreds of Wyndham residents who are doing it tough every week. The store is based at the Wyndham Park Community Centre, and I have seen firsthand the rewarding work that they do, collecting and sorting donations and preparing packs for needy families. The store assists hundreds every week, and the services are very welcomed by many in Wyndham.

Monica is the president of Women of Wyndham and is an advocate for victim-survivors of family violence. She is very generous in donating her time in helping diverse people network to realise their full potential. The environment Monica creates provides a culturally and gender inclusive, welcoming place. With many multicultural communities settling in Wyndham, we are grateful for her work in this space.

I thank the Speaker, and the President of the other place, for hosting a lunch in Queen’s Hall on International Women’s Day, and I look forward to celebrating their contributions. I acknowledge the many women in our Parliament, with 54 per cent of Labor MPs and 64 per cent of ministers who are women – a significant change. Now of course it means my gender is in the minority.