Published by the Faculty of Business, Government and Law, University of Canberra


Research and Stories through a Gendered Lens

Letter to the Prime Minister

Mar 15, 2021 | Politics, Feature

Written by 50/50 Foundation

To the Hon Scott Morrison MP Prime Minister of Australia

Women’s March for Justice – calling for a safe and equal Australia – #enoughisenough

The last month has been a distressing time for our community. The brave disclosure by Brittany Higgins of her alleged rape within Parliament House, followed by several further disclosures of gendered violence, has rocked confidence in the safety of the Australian Parliament and its ability to make laws in the best interests of women, particularly survivors of violence.

These events are not isolated incidents. Over the last decade, there have been too many examples of the Australian Parliament falling short of expectations in the community, with high profile incidents of sexual harassment, gender-based bullying and a toxic culture working against the election, participation and advancement of women.

Australian women are tired of being hurt at work, at home and on our streets. They expect parliaments to be working to make laws that keep them safe and equal. To find out, instead, that parliaments are doing just the opposite is unacceptable.

Enough is enough.

We, the undersigned, acknowledge our support for the Women’s March for Justice planned for Monday 15.3.21. Inspired by Janine Hendry, academic, entrepreneur and mother who tweeted “4000 women – that’s what it will take to circle Parliament House on March 15 and make it clear to government that we have had enough” the Women’s March for Justice has grown 27,000 strong in ten days, with 38 events planned across Australia, including in the Nation’s Capital.

We endorse the following demands of the Women’s March for Justice.

  • Independent investigations into incidents of gendered violence within Parliament
  • No perpetrators as policy or law makers. Stand them down.
  • Full implementation of the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Respect@Work Recommendations
  • Ratification of the Convention on Eliminating Violence and Harassment in the World of Work.
  • An independent review into the prevalence of gendered violence in Parliament to be conducted by the Federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner.
  • Strengthen the Sex Discrimination Act so that Parliamentarians and Judges are no longer excluded from accountability for sexual harassment and discrimination committed in the course of their employment as public officers.
  • Creation of a Code of Conduct for all Federal MPs that includes the prevention of gendered violence in Houses of Parliament and associated workplaces.
  • Mandatory gendered violence and sexual harassment training of all Federal MPs and their staff on an annual basis.
    • Create a safe and equal Australia, starting within our Houses of Parliament, by:  The enactment of a federal Gender Equality Act to promote the Australian Government to support gender equality by conducting a national gender equity audit of all Parliaments.
      o Lifting public funding for gendered violence prevention from 1% to world’s best practice standards of 9-12% of the Federal Budget
  • All Australian Parliaments gender equal by 2030Further, we call for the Federal Government to acknowledge that disclosures by Brittany Higgins and other former parliamentary staff, as well as the ongoing advocacy of Australian of the Year, Grace Tame, is putting pressure on specialist services responding to and preventing violence and to provide increased funding to meet demand for support from victim-survivors. We also call for additional resources to enable women access to justice, especially for Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander women.

And we call on the Federal Government to recognise that there is even greater complexity and need when addressing gender injustice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander women, women of colour, migrant and refugee women, women from CALD backgrounds, women living with a disability or who identify as LGBTIQ+.

The demands do not seek to cover the field in all the very many ways Australian women are disadvantaged – at work, at home and in the community. Instead, they are signposts to the strategic work government must do with business, the public and community sector to fast-track gender equality and justice in our nation.

Our Parliaments must be exemplary workplaces. We look forward to the findings of the Sex Discrimination Commissioner’s Review into Parliamentary Workplace Culture, however, there is much that can be done right away.

Survivors and their allies are relying on you to ensure the Australian Parliament operates with the highest standards of integrity. We urge you to take a stand at this historical moment to guarantee a gender equal future free from gendered violence.


Yours faithfully

Professor Kim Rubenstein FAAL, FASSA and Trish Bergin Co-Directors, 50/50 by 2030 Foundation, University of Canberra

Georgie Dent
Executive Director, The Parenthood; Contributing Editor, Women’s Agenda

Janine Hendry
Founder, Women’s March for Justice




Addicott Partners
Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC)
Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS)
Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU)
Australian Gender Equality Council (AGEC)
Australian Lawyers for Human Rights
Australian Local Government Women’s Association Australian Neighbourhood Houses & Centres Association Australian Women’s Health Network
Australians Investing in Women
Capital City LLEN
Centre for Non-Violence

Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) Davis VA
Diversity Council Australia
Disability Leadership Institute

Eleos Justice, Monash University
EMILY’s List Australia
Equality Australia
Equality Rights Alliance – Women’s Voices for Gender Equality Fair Agenda

Flat Out Inc.
Gippsland Women’s Health
Grata Fund
Harm Australia
International Women’s Development Agency, IWDA Justitia, Lawyers and Consultants
Koorie Women Mean Business
Marie Stopes Australia
Maurice Blackburn Lawyers
MEKDESIGN, A creative agency
Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health
Move Consultants
North Queensland Women’s Legal Service
Older Women’s Network NSW Inc
One Compass Pty Ltd

Our Community
Per Capita
Regal Lawyers
She Runs, WA
Sisters4Sisters Support Services St Kilda Legal Service

The Global Institute for Women’s Leadership, ANU The Parenthood
Three Sisters Beauty Co.
Victorian Primary Care Partnerships

Victorian Women’s Trust
Violence Prevention Australia
Wellways Australia
White Ribbon Australia
Whitlam Institute, University of Sydney Women for Election Australia
Women’s Health Goulburn North East Women’s Health In the North
Women’s Health Grampians
Women’s Health Loddon Mallee
Women’s Health in the South East (WHISE) Women’s Leadership Institute Australia Women’s Legal Centre ACT
Women’s Legal Service Tasmania Women’s Safety NSW

YWCA Australia
50/50 by 2030 Foundation, University of Canberra


Nadene Alhadeff, Executive Director Mum for Mum,
Kathryn Allan, President ACT & Southern NSW Amnesty International Australia
Lisa Annese, Chief Executive Officer, Diversity Council Australia
Joan Armitage, Individual
Nicole Battle, CEO, Neighbourhood Houses Victoria
Natalie Barr, Chief Operations Officer, The Global Institute for Women’s Leadership, ANU Jennifer Batrouney AM QC, Convenor, Women Barristers Association
Traude Beilharz, Monash University
Peter Bibby, Individual
Josh Bornstein, Partner, Maurice Blackburn Lawyers
Lisa Brassington, AgPeriUrban, Agribusiness
Anna Brown, CEO Equality Australia
Melanie Brown, Acting CEO, Gippsland Women’s Health
Josh Butler, Political Editor, The New Daily
Marie Coleman AO PSM
Helen Campbell OAM, Executive Officer, Women’s Legal Service NSW
Jane Caro, AM, Author, Novelist, Social Commentator
Renee Carr, Executive Director, Fair Agenda
Yvette Cehtel, Chief Executive Officer, Women’s Legal Service Tasmania
Bonney Corbin, National Board Chairperson, Australian Women’s Health Network
Dr Kate Crawford, Director, Evia
Mary Crooks, CEO, Victorian Women’s Trust

Tricia Currie, CEO, Women’s Health Loddon Mallee

Ruth Dearnley, Chief Executive Officer, Birth for Humankind

Hon. Mary Delahunty, Chair, Her Place Women’s Museum

Melissa Donnelly, National Secretary, Community & Public Sector Union (PSU Group)

Jan Dent, Owner, Redgate Consulting

Robyn Edmanson, Law librarian

Kylie Edmonsom, Individual

Dr Meredith Edwards AM

Dr Joanne Enticott, Senior Research Fellow, Monash University

Selen Ercan, Associate Professor, University of Canberra

Jana Favero, Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC)

Emma Fitzsimon, Director Strategy and Development, Victorian Primary Care Partnerships

Bev Floyd, Retired teacher and writer

Hayley Foster, Chief Executive Officer, Women’s Safety NSW

Catherine Fox, Journalist and Author

Dr Emma Fulu, Executive Director, The Equality Institute

Dr Sean Geoghegan, South Australia Health

Zach Ghirardello, Member Engagement and Partnership Manager, Diversity Council of Australia

Marina Go, Co-founder of Tonic

Amy Haddad, Consultant

Sarah Halls, Individual

Licia Heath, CEO, Women for Election Australia

Associate Professor Nicola Henry, RMIT

Associate Professor Elizabeth Hill and Professor Sara Charlesworth, Co-convenors, Australian Work+Family Policy Roundtable

Alison Harris, Gender Equity Coordinator

Virginia Haussegger AM
Founding Director 50/50 by 2030 Foundation, University of Canberra

Dr Nikki Henningham, Executive Officers, Australian Women’s Archive Project Michelle Higelin, Executive Director, ActionAid Australia
Cathy Hunt, Executive Producer, WOW Australia
Angela Jackson, Lead Economist, Equity Economics

Dr Fiona Jenkins, Convenor, ANU Gender Institute

Professor Fleur Johns, Law, UNSW

Melinda Jones, National President, National Council of Jewish Women Australia

Stephen Jones, MP for Seat of Whitlam

Amanda Kelly, Chief Executive Officer, Women’s Health Goulburn North East

Margo Kingston, Citizen Journalism

Professor Tom Kompas, University of Melbourne

Tanja Kovac, CEO, GEN VIC

Professor Wendy Lacey FAAL, Executive Dean, Faculty of Business, Government & Law, University of Canberra

Yumi Lee, Manager, Older Women’s Network NSW Inc
Anne Lewis, Director, North Queensland Women’s Legal Service
Fiona Lindsay, Individual
Wendy McCarthy AO Life Fellow FAICD
Edwina McDonald, Deputy CEO, Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) Helen McDonald, Communications Consultant
Dr Helen McGowan, Lawyer, Halliday Solicitors
Carmel McGregor PSM, Adjunct Professor, University of Canberra
Fiona McLeod AO SC, Victorian Bar
Kit McMahon, Chief Executive Officer, Women’s Health in the South East (WHISE) Chantal McNaught, Lawyer

Dr Michelle Meyer, Consultant

Sarah Moran
Co-Founder and CEO, Girl Geek Academy

Dr Jill Murray, Senior Fellow, Melbourne Law School

Maria Nawaz, Co-Head of Strategic Litigation, Grata Fund

Jane Needham SC, 13th Floor St James’ Hall, NSW Bar

Julie Oberin, Chair, WESNET

Kristine Olaris, Chief Executive Officer, Women’s Health East

Michele O’Neil, President, ACTU

Dr Maree Overall, CEO, Emily’s List

Andrew Phillips, Associate Professor, University of Queensland

Michelle Phillips, CEO, YWCA Australia

Professor Sharon Pickering BA MA PhD FASSA Dean, Faculty of Arts, Monash University

Joanna Pradela, Director, Knowledge Translation and Equality Insights Jo Porter, CEO, Queen Victoria Women’s Centre

Moira Rayner, Moira Rayner and Associates
Michelle Redfern, Managing Director, Advancing Women in Business and Sport Sarah Reid, Australian Conservation Foundation, ACT
Therese Rein, Human Rights Medalist
Isabelle Reinecke, Executive Director & Founder, Grata Fund
Sarah Rey, Managing Partner, Justitia, Lawyers and Consultants
Azure Rigney, Maternity Consumer Representative, Maternity choices Australia Helen Riseborough, CEO, Women’s Health In the North
Elena Rosenman, Chief Executive Officer, Women’s Legal Centre ACT
Coral Ross, Chair, Australian Gender Equality Council
Pia Rowe, Research Fellow, 50/50 by 2030 Foundation, University of Canberra

Christina Ryan, CEO/Founder, Disability Leadership Institute Margaret Ryan, Individual

Marianne Saliba, National President of Australian Local Government Women’s Association Kylie Saunder, Writer
Rebecca Saunders, Head of Fiction, Hachette Australia
Dr Mai Sato, Assoc Prof, Faculty of Law, Monash University

Regina Schottmaier, Former School Teacher
Jenny Sim, Registered Nurse and Academic
Denise Shrivell, Individual
Alex Sloan, Deputy Director, The Australia Institute, Leanne Smith,

Director, Whitlam Institute, University of Western Sydney and Australian Lawyers for Human Rights

Louise Smith, CEO, Capital City LLEN
Mary Stuart, Director, Her Place Women’s Museum Australia
Claire Thompson, Barrister, WA Bar

Bobbie Trower, Senior Manager, Advocacy, YWCA, Australia

Mary Walsh, Associate Professor, University of Canberra

Deanne Weir, Founder,
Joshua Webb, Individual

Dr Blair Williams, The Global Institute for Women’s Leadership

Professor Rhonda Wilson, University of Newcastle
Keren Zelwer, Gender equity and disability inclusion advocate


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