"Women have equal status under the law, and the law provides for pay equity. There are highly organized and effective private and public women's rights organizations at the federal, state, and local levels. A federal level Office of the Status of Women monitors women's rights. The federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner receives complaints and attempts to resolve those that are deemed valid. According to government statistics, sex discrimination complaints fell by 8 percent between 1999 and this year; 325 new cases were filed during the year. Of these 83 percent were filed by women and 79 percent were employment related. In July the Australian Bureau of Statistics estimated that the ratio of female to male full time average hourly earnings was 83 percent.
However, a study released by the Australian Institute of Management in May was more pessimistic; it found that women were paid only 66 percent of their male counterparts' wages. This study also found that there were fewer female board members in both large and small companies than the previous year. Some members of opposition political parties have attributed the difference to changes in workplace laws, such as the 1996 Workplace Relations Act, which relies on the use of individual employment contracts that are negotiated privately and thus do not necessarily foster equal pay outcomes. Other commentators have suggested that an "old boy's network" can make it difficult for women to negotiate salaries equal to those of their male counterparts."

(Country Reports on Human Rights Practices 2000. Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, February 2001, U.S. State Department)