Legislative Council: Wednesday, May 18, 2022


Gender-Specific Language

The Hon. D.G.E. HOOD (14:45): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking a question of the Attorney-General regarding gender-specific language.

Leave granted.

The Hon. D.G.E. HOOD: It was recently revealed that the official Australian Labor Party's national platform has removed the words 'mothers', 'breastfeeding' and 'pregnant women' from its platform. Its revised policy now utilises non gender-specific words such as 'people' and 'individuals' in their place in the context of pregnancy-related matters.

Women's rights advocates have since criticised the ALP's move to eradicate female-specific language, with one such advocate questioning whether the party, and I quote directly, 'acknowledges and respects the existence of women, their unique experience of pregnancy and motherhood, and the fact of biological sex'. My questions to the Attorney are:

1. Does the Attorney-General support the ALP's actions to remove the words 'mothers', 'breastfeeding' and 'pregnant women' from its national policy platform in favour of non gender-specific words?

2. How does the Attorney-General justify the ALP's actions in response to women's rights advocates?

3. Will the Attorney-General commit to retaining the use of the words 'mothers', 'breastfeeding' and 'pregnant women' in South Australian legislation?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Attorney-General, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (14:46): I thank the honourable member for his question. Certainly, as a matter of course, I am in favour of language that's always as inclusive as possible. I am not responsible to this chamber, or in fact anywhere else, for what federal Labor has in their policy, but I am certain that if the honourable member has a concern he could take it up with the federal Labor Party.