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Giulia with a G rejects 'nagging' feminism

Date

Noel Towell

No nagging ... Liberals MLA Giulia Jones says there is no need to give up on the conservative vision of a home and a family to be a success.

No nagging ... Liberals MLA Giulia Jones says there is no need to give up on the conservative vision of a home and a family to be a success. Photo: Jeffrey Chan

The ACT's new shadow women's minister has used her maiden Assembly speech to outline her conservative vision for home, family and a white picket fence.

Liberal MLA Giulia Jones told the chamber in her first speech on Tuesday that she rejected the ''nagging'' of feminist public debate, was free to want a climbing rose over her white picket fence and would fight against the notion of women as victims.

Labor newcomer Yvette Berry and Mrs Jones's fellow Liberal Andrew Wall were also making their speaking debuts in the Assembly on Tuesday. Labor's Mick Gentleman, a former MLA who regained his seat last month, declined to make a speech.

Mrs Jones told her fellow MLAs that she was part of a group of modern conservative women.

''As a member of the Liberal Party, I learned from the women of our movement that there was no need to give up on the conservative vision of home and family to be a success,'' Mrs Jones said.

''As a confident, aspirational woman with strong traditional family values, I see myself as part of a growing group of modern conservative women.

''Modern because we embrace the opportunities of today; and conservative because we do not consider ourselves to be better than all the generations that have come before.''

The mother of four said she rejected the idea that modern women should be ''enslaved'' by the feminist movement.

''Though thoroughly pro-woman, I do not feel enslaved to the feminist movement and I certainly fight against the idea that I am in any way a victim,'' she said. ''I know my life is better than my grandmother's and I reject the constant nagging of an older-style feminist public debate that tries to make women feel bad for not achieving something that they want for our lives.

''I feel free to want a white picket fence and not just a fence but a climbing rose over the fence, a nice house partly bought with my earning power and an equal say over all aspects of life.''

Newly elected Labor backbencher Ms Berry, a former United Voice union official, raised the plight of Canberra's low paid workers.

''They are some of the hardest working members of our community and yet they are some of the lowest paid,'' she said.

New Liberal Brindabella MLA Mr Wall said he would use his time in the Assembly to concentrate on ''roads, rates and rubbish'' for the people of his electorate.

''They want quality roads to travel on, they want to find a car park at their local shopping centre, they want choices where their children go to school,'' he said.

The youngest MLA said he had learnt much in his time flipping burgers at a McDonald's before he joined his family's business. ''My confidence, communication skills and work ethic are all derived from my time cooking and selling hamburgers,'' he said.

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