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Coalition of prominent women call for action


7 March 2022 at 3:53 pm
Nikki Stefanoff
A group of high profile Australian women have come together to launch a social media campaign calling on the Morrison government to do more to protect women and children. 


Nikki Stefanoff | 7 March 2022 at 3:53 pm


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Coalition of prominent women call for action
7 March 2022 at 3:53 pm

“Every woman in Australia deserves access to a safe place to work, a safe place to live, fair and equal pay, quality free early learning and care, and a justice system that works for survivors.” 

A group of high profile Australian women have come together to launch a social media campaign calling on the Morrison government to do more to protect women and children. 

In a video message fronted by members of this new coalition, and launched on the eve of International Women’s Day, the group calls for reforms that would have a tangible effect in addressing the inequality that still persists for Australian women. 

The group, which has regularly come together to meet informally over several months, includes Grace Tame, Brittany Higgins, Christine Holgate and Lucy Hughes Turnbull, as well as former MP Julia Banks, ACTU president Michele O’Neil, businesswoman Wendy McCarthy, consent activist Chanel Contos, Paralympic gold medalist Madison de Rozario, academic Larissa Behrendt, youth advocate Yasmin Poole and The Parenthood executive director Georgie Dent. 

Dent told Pro Bono News that the video was made to capture the mood and momentum of 2021 in Australia, and aims to unite Australians around the need for systems change.

Two of the key changes we’re seeking are expanded paid parental leave and universal access to quality early childhood education and care, both are central to The Parenthood’s strategic vision,” Dent said. 

“Aside from helping families and parents, these policies would dramatically improve the lives of women and children.”

Dent went on to say that the hope is that the video, through the involvement of younger activists such as Contos, Poole, de Rozario, Tame and Higgins, will connect with younger Australians in a way that some other advocacy might not. 

The video is part of a social media campaign aiming to push the federal government to be clear on what it plans on changing, after the landmark review by Australia’s sex discrimination commissioner Kate Jenkins in 2021 into federal parliament’s culture. 

The group is calling for the Morrison government to implement policies that include: 10 days paid family and domestic violence leave, full implementation of the National Plan for First Nations Women and Girls, ensuring effective employment programs for women with disability, enacting stronger and consistent child sexual assault laws, and legislative measures to address the gender pay gap.

Dent said the sense of collective anger and frustration at a lack of progress in improving respect and safety for women had brought the women together across generational, cultural and political lines. 

“We are tired of empty promises,” she said. 

“Every woman in Australia deserves access to a safe place to work, a safe place to live, fair and equal pay, quality free early learning and care, and a justice system that works for survivors.” 

The women make it clear they want to continue the momentum of 2021 – an extraordinary year where thousands of Australian women and their allies took part in public demonstrations triggered by a #MeToo moment in the Australian parliament.

On her involvement with the coalition, former Australian of the Year, Tame said that everyone had seen the reviews, the reports and the talkfests and it was now time for our leaders to get to work. 

“Stop the abuse of power and bring about real change,” Tame said. “This isn’t just a women’s issue, it’s a human rights issue.” 

The women are calling for the government to commit to: 

  • preventing sexual harassment and bullying (by implementing all 55 recommendations in the Respect@Work report including a positive duty on employers); 
  • 10 days paid family and domestic violence leave;
  • acting on the National Plan for First Nations Women and Girls; 
  • ensuring effective employment programs for women with disability;
  • stronger, consistent child sexual assault laws;
  • eliminating the gender pay gap including necessary legal reform; 
  • free, accessible and quality early childhood education and care; 
  • expanding paid parental leave; and
  • embedding respectful relationships and consent education everywhere including schools, universities, workplaces and homes. 

Find out more about the campaign here or watch the video below:


Nikki Stefanoff  |  Journalist  |  @ProBonoNews

Nikki Stefanoff is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.

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