Minister for Housing and the Status of Women Tanya Plibersek listens to community groups at Club Coffs and (top left) protesters outside the venue.
Minister for Housing and the Status of Women Tanya Plibersek listens to community groups at Club Coffs and (top left) protesters outside the venue. Bruce Thomas

MP avoids protesters

RAIN poured down as a small but determined group of placard-carrying protesters took up their post outside Club Coffs on West High to wait for federal minister Tanya Plibersek yesterday.

The minister's portfolio is housing and the status of women but the protesters' message was all about flooding and the lack of support for Cowper victims shown by the Federal Government following the 2009 deluges that hit the Mid North Coast.

The minister foiled the protesters' efforts by arriving via the back door but Labor candidate for Cowper Paul Sekfy, who was ready and waiting at the front door, said he was disappointed that they had not elected to speak to him about their concerns.

An audience of about 50 people braved the rain to listen to the minister and Mr Sekfy and ask questions on Labor's moves to improve assistance for people at risk of suicide, domestic violence and homelessness and the importance, for women, of increased pensions, better superannuation, paid parental leave and new industrial relations legislation.

Ms Plibersek said work value test cases provided a historic opportunity for women, because for the first time work skills used in areas traditionally dominated by women could be compared with areas traditionally dominated by men.

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