Straight from the Senate - Issue 17

5.00pm | April 28, 2017



1. On ANZAC Day I attended a service to honour the indigenous men and women who served our country. 

Sadly, the service of Indigenous Australians in our armed forces was unacknowledged for too long. We remember them, and the sacrifice of all men and women who have served Australia. Lest we forget. 


2. On Wednesday morning I spoke with Fran Kelly on ABC Radio’s RN Breakfast about the Senate Inquiry that I am chairing into Gender Segregation in the Workplace and its Impact on Women’s Economic Equality. 

I spoke about the Australia’s highly segregated workforce and its contribution to the gender pay gap. Men and women tend to work in very different roles and industries, and the jobs and industries dominated by women are generally paid less than those dominated by men. To achieve gender equity, we can’t just smash glass ceilings; we must also smash the glass walls between ‘men’s’ and ‘women’s’ work. You can read my full remarks here. 



My colleagues, Tanya Plibersek MP and Sharon Claydon MP, are doing invaluable policy development on the issues facing Australian women. 

Labor’s Status of Women Committee, chaired by Sharon Claydon, will visit communities across Australia to hear from frontline service providers, community groups, employees, employers, unions and women from all walks of life to find solutions to these problems. We need your help to do this. Labor is calling on all people with an interest in creating a fairer and more equal society to participate in our Setting the Agenda consultations.

I encourage you to write a submission or take just a few minutes to fill out our online survey.Have your say about women in Australia and help set  Labor’s agenda.


It was a privilege to address the Women, Super and Wealth Summit hosted by the SMSF Association on Thursday. There were many great insights shared at the conference and I spoke about gender segregation in the workforce, the gender pay gap and the result; serious inequality in superannuation and retirement incomes between men and women.

It is simply unacceptable that so many women today retire with so little. It is unacceptable but it is not a mystery. Retirement wealth is a direct outcome of lifetime income; the villain of this piece is the Gender Pay Gap.

The difference in lifetime income between men and women and the compound nature of superannuation directs a magnifying glass on women’s poor wages. It deepens the divide between women and men over time. Even worse, business as usual will deliver pretty much the same outcome in twenty years’ time.

In addition to the 'glass ceilings', I spoke about the 'glass walls' that stand between poorly paid female-dominated occupations and industries, and the more highly paid male-dominated ones. These glass walls are a major driver of women's continuing economic and social disadvantage.

It is difficult to achieve financial and personal independence if you are stuck in low-paid jobs and industries. These challenges are the rationale for the senate inquiry into gender segregation. Irrespective of what jobs men and women have, their pay must fairly reflect the difficulty and economic value of the work. That's not the case today.

You can read my full speech here. 


In Labor,

Jenny McAllister