Coalition Ignores Women’s Health Charter
30 June 2016 at 11:13 am
The federal Coalition has failed to endorse the first Australian Women’s Health Charter or committed to any of its four proposals in the lead up to the 2 July poll, according to the Australian Women’s Health Network.
Just two days out from the federal election the AWHN said it had received a proforma letter from the Coalition which neither acknowledged the charter nor addressed any of its specific content.
Australia’s first Women’s Health Charter was launched by the AWHN in May in a bid to influence all political parties in the lead up the 2016 federal election.
If the Coalition is returned to office, the AWHN said it would now be forced to close its doors when its funding runs out in December 2016.
The charter called on political parties to commit to national leadership by taking action to ensure the health and well-being needs of all women in Australia are met.
The Labor Party, the Australian Greens and Senator Glenn Lazarus all signed on to the charter along with 32 Not for Profit organisations.
“The charter gives a clear view of what is needed to improve the health of all women in Australia and put it to the forefront of the political debate,” CEO of AWHN Kelly Banister said.
“The Coalition’s lack of direct consideration of and support for the charter is very disappointing but not surprising.
“Our Commonwealth funding ended in December last year and we applied for funding under the health peak and advisory program and we weren’t successful. [The government] didn’t refund the organisation beyond the end of this year.
“We were really pleased with the other responses and felt that they showed great leadership in the way that they responded to the charter and the acknowledgement that health isn’t just about illness but is actually about the condition of people’s lives.
“Based on the response from the Coalition that is not their understanding. They view health in a more discrete way and the written response didn’t even mention the charter.
Banister said they would have liked to have seen commitment across the parties, because the issue was “too important” for politics.
She also said the network which was currently operating with donor funding would not be able to continue after this year without additional funding.
“Under the Coalition we will no longer be able to employ any staff after December. We have been working very hard to source philanthropic funds to try to diversify our funding base. So far we have had minor success but not enough. We have had donations from members and individuals supportive of the organisation but it isn’t enough to keep the organisation going,” she said.
She said the funds that were committed by Greens and Labor if elected is an amount that would allow the organisation to retain the staff.
“It would allow us to do some of the work but we wouldn’t necessarily be able to take on additional project work. But we could certainly assist in advice and maintain our network,” she said.
“We launched a clearing house last year which is a central place to find information about women’s health. That money would allow us to continue that and allow us to support members.
“The money would also allow us to seek additional funding through the philanthropic grants for specific other projects.”