It was International Women’s Day on March 8, sexual assault survivor Grace Tame was named Australian of the Year in January, Brittney Higgins has alleged being raped at Australia’s Parliament House, the Australian prime minister decided that Australia’s Attorney General, Christian Porter, the first law officer in the country, is ‘innocent’ of historical rape allegations without an independent inquiry into the rape allegation.
It is these circumstances, and so much more, that have led to the nationwide March 4 Justice marches planned for Monday, 15 March, including in Mullumbimby and Lismore, to call ‘for an end to gendered violence against women in the Australian Parliament and an increase in public funding for prevention of gender-based violence’.
Local marches are supporting the National March in Canberra where a petition will be delivered calling on the Prime Minister to act on gendered violence against women, including female Members of Parliament and staff.
‘Our focus is safety. Safety for women from sexual assault, safety for survivors dealing with incredibly triggering conversations dominating recent weeks. I am furious that women are being treated so badly in 2021. There are young women who face harassment every day, and older women who are tired and furious that we still fighting this fight,’ says founder and convenor Janine Hendry.
The Mullumbimby march, starts at the Mullumbimby Civic Hall at 12 noon on Monday, 15 March.
Speakers at the Mullumbimby event include Aine Tyrrell, Aime Dreyer, Belle Budden, Delta Kay, Eileen Culleton, Fay Jackson, Ilona Harker Mandy Nolan and Sarah Ndiaye.
Mullumbimby March 4 Justice Convenor Ilona Harker says, ‘We need to raise our voices together so that we can protect the next generation from systemic abuse. Our focus is on safety and support and have submitted the appropriate permits and are committed to working closely with authorities for a safe event, including a COVID safe event’.
The inaugural Lismore March 4 Justice will take place on March 15 from 12 noon at The Lismore Transit Centre. Speakers at the Lismore event include Lismore Mayor Vanessa Ekins, Widjabul Wia-bal woman Cindy Roberts, and Carol Shipard, a survivor of sexual violence.
Lismore March 4 Justice spokesperson Louise Somerville says, ‘This event is a chance to show that we will not be silent while women are not safe. Women are not safe in their homes, are not safe in their workplaces and it seems women are not safe even in the highest office of this land, the Parliament of Australia’.
March 4 Justice is calling for:
- Full independent investigations in all cases of gendered violence and misconduct of Members of Parliament and their staff and timely referrals to appropriate authorities. Full public transparency of findings.
- No perpetrators as policy makers. Stand then down and create a safe and equal Australia, starting within our Houses of Parliament.
- An independent review into the prevalence of gendered violence in Parliament to be conducted by the Federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner.
4. Strengthen the Sex Discrimination Act so that Parliamentarians and judges are no longer excluded from accountability.