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Representing care: toward a more family-friendly parliament

Photo of a woman holding a baby in parliament
Rosalind Dixon, Kate Jackson and Matthew McLeod, February 2022
This report was funded by UNSW Sydney and produced as part of the Pathways to Politics Knowledge Hub.

“Both federal and state parliaments should be a model workplace, so there is significant impetus to ensure that the diversity of politicians’ experience and obligations is balanced against broader democratic demands.”

In this report, the authors propose five amendments to parliamentary practices which seek to make Parliament more ‘care-friendly’ and accessible to those with significant caring responsibilities:

  1. Amendments to Standing Orders to remove children from the definition of ‘strangers’ not permitted in the chambers;
  2. Changes to the parliamentary calendar and sitting hours, so as better to align with child-care hours and school holidays;
  3. Parental leave for Members of Parliament
  4. Increased investments in child-care facilities and options for remote learning for the school-aged children of Members of Parliament; and
  5. More use of ‘Zoom’ and other virtual platforms for parliamentary hearings, such as committee hearings.

Parts II and III of this report analyse the proposed reforms by reference to the impetus and impact upon federal Parliament, before returning to the impact on state and territory parliaments in Part IV.

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