Monday, June 25

Australia's Howard and Canada's Harper....

How Well Does Australian Democracy serve Australian Women?

Not very well according to

The WA Office for Women's Policy is to be 'integrated' from 1 July into a new Department for Communities, which will have no discrete policy offices. While Australia was once ahead of most of the world in setting up policy units to analyse the impact on women of government policy, it is now leading the world in dismantling them.

As CEDAW commented last year, Australia no longer has adequate structures or gender-disaggregated data to ensure effective implementation of the UN Women's Convention (or, indeed, of Beijing Platform commitments).

Australia has been providing plenty of inspiration for the Harper Conservative Government in Canada. In its first year (2006) the Harper Government cut the budget of Status of Women Canada by 40 per cent, exactly the same cut that was made to the Office of the Status of Women when the Howard Government was elected in 1996.

Status of Women Canada has lost its Policy Research Fund which funded independent research, is no longer allowed to fund research and advocacy by women's groups and has had the goal of women's equality removed from its mandate.

Sound familiar? Like the Howard government the Harper government is dedicated to governing for the mainstream and regards gender equality advocacy as special interest pleading.

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