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90 Sec Statement - Torres Strait women - leaders in the making

Posted October 28, 2014



CATHY McGOWAN (Indi) (13:51):  It gives me great pleasure today to welcome into this Australian Parliament House six very special people: four women leaders from the Torres Strait Islands and two women who are their trainers. Welcome to Ella, Lizzie, Iris and especially to Catherine; and also to their leaders, Michelle and Philippa.

These women are doing a leadership course sponsored by the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation and they are here in Canberra today not only to learn about leadership but to make a presentation this afternoon to Senator Nigel Scullion, the Parliamentary Secretary for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs. They tell me that the presentation that they are going to make—and I hope I do justice to the pronunciation—Punji Kupai Kod, represents the umbilical cord and how it brings us together as women, as leaders and as a country.

They are here today and as part of this leadership course to gain the confidence and skills to bring their communities with them into a new age of leadership because they have some very specific tasks to do. The Torres Strait Regional Authority only has three women on it; it needs 10. The Torres Strait Island Regional Council has no women on it and the Torres Shire Council has no women on it. So these women are here in parliament today to bring gender balance to the leadership team of the Torres Strait Islands.

As I say congratulations to you wonderful women in the gallery, please know that this House is with you and we hope it will not be too long before you come and take your rightful places sitting down here with us. Welcome.

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