Change begins with addressing sexist culture in parliament, says ERA

By Anna Macdonald

May 24, 2022

parliament house-canberra
The NWA says it will work with the new government to achieve its campaign promises. (r-o-x-o-r/Adobe)

The National Women’s Alliances (NWA) have together urged the incoming Albanese government to address women’s safety issues, including gender equality issues, within parliament.

With a number of women elected this election — notably prominent teal candidates such as Monique Ryan and Allegra Spender — NWA has said it will work with the new government to achieve its campaign promises such as cheaper childcare, gender-responsive budgeting, and reducing the gender pay gap.

National Women’s Safety Alliance CEO Renee Hamilton asked the government to consider the top-five policy priorities of her organisation.

“The actions include more housing, funding for frontline services, consent education programs, legal support for victim-survivors, and a national training target for people in the community to identify violence and respond compassionately,” Hamilton said. 

One of the key areas to prioritise in within the government itself. 

“If we want to help women, we must recognise and change systems that keep women from being safe, having access and opportunity and getting ahead,” Women With Disabilities Australia (WWDA) acting director of policy and programs Frances Quan Farrant said. 

“That change needs to start in parliament itself, with a shift away from the current combative and sexist culture,” Equality Rights Alliance (ERA) convenor Helen Dalley-Fisher commented.

Labor has committed to implementing all 55 recommendations of the Respect@Work report by Australian Human Rights Commission sex discrimination commissioner Kate Jenkins. The Greens made the same commitment, with a large crossbench confirmed, while it is still unclear whether Labor will have a majority or minority government. 

Jenkins named the 51% result of people working in a commonwealth parliamentary workplace reporting mistreatment as ‘unacceptably high’. 

The report came out after former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins’ allegation of sexual assault by Bruce Lehrmann. The case is before the ACT Supreme Court, with Lehrmann losing a bid to delay the case, according to The Guardian. Lehrman has pled not guilty. 

The NWA is funded through the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet’s Office for Women. ERA and WWDA, alongside Harmony Alliance and National Women’s Safety Alliance are four of the six alliances that make up the NWA.  

The NWA also congratulated the incoming government on its election win. 


More than a third of Australian families cannot afford childcare

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