Edward Mandla
COUNCIL SPEECHES
Equality in the workplace, period

Published On: 25/07/2016

What Iím calling for tonight is for the City of Sydney to take a leadership position. Thatís what government agencies ought to do.

Iím asking, first and foremost, that the City of Sydney be the first Australian council to provide free and easily accessible sanitary items in all their bathrooms for all City of Sydney staff.

The City of Sydney has led with solar panels and this provided leadership for organisations to follow suit. Itís no different to water recycling, alternative power generation, higher standards of procurement, governance and occupational health and safety standards. Sometimes, government should just lead.

I can imagine executives from banks coming to use City of Sydney facilities and seeing free and easily accessible sanitary items in all of their bathrooms for all City of Sydney staff. They would think: ďWow, maybe we should be doing this in our business.Ē

The Cityís preliminary response came from the Lord Mayorís Communication Manager, a man, and because toilet paper serves his needs, he doesnít know that every woman has a story. Heís got it wrong and Lord Mayor you should tell him so.

The release said this was political. It isnít. This proposal comes from Edward Mandla.

Iím merely a Father of eight and my household has pads everywhere Ė from shoulder pads, to breast pads to sanitary pads. There on the shopping list, on the credit card bills and its part of our family life.

All our bathrooms are stocked with pads and sanitary items. Iím not sure why itís different in a workplace.

In addition, to providing free and easily accessible sanitary items in all their bathrooms for all City of Sydney staff, Iím calling for free and easily accessible sanitary items in libraries and homelessness facilities for the homeless as well as in all public pools and sporting facilities for the general public.

Strangely, the Lord Mayorís Communication Manager issued a statement saying:

ďHomeless services, including those funded by the City of Sydney, already provide toiletries for homeless women in our area.Ē

Oh dear. This statement shows ambivalence toward homelessness.

The City of Sydney does not directly provide free and easily accessible sanitary items for the homeless.

Some agencies might hand out a sanitary pack here or there and the night patrols ought to have some.

However, very few homeless people know of these services and most are unlikely to have the self esteem to ask.

It also begs the question whether the City of Sydney believes that a homeless person may have some sort of gift to know they are going to need a sanitary item in thirty minutes. Good grief.

Homeless people donít just live in a homeless shelter Ė they move around and many use Council libraries and other community facilities.

Thatís why in addition to providing free and easily accessible sanitary items in all City of Sydney bathrooms for all City of Sydney staff, Iím calling for free and easily accessible sanitary items in libraries and homelessness facilities for the homeless as well as in all public pools and sporting facilities for the general public.

Every item is this agenda has backup research including the well developed costings that providing free tampons for one person is going to cost about AUD$7.74 per staff member, per year as they are for emergencies. Iím happy to share them with the CEO and staff.

In summary, providing free sanitary items is a low cost, high impact solution that ought to inspire organisations across the country to follow suit.

It is appropriate for the City to trial this initiative and even if rejected tonight, there has been enough support in social media that a movement has been started and I will persistently return with this motion like I did with Webcasting.

I hope we can have constructive deliberations tonight.

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