Fair Agenda Blog

Win! Parental leave

After 9 months of campaigning, we’re excited to announce that new parents' paid time at home with their babies is safe under this parliament.

Last week Fair Agenda and our friends at The Parenthood took your messages to parliament – and stood with crossbench Senators Jacqui Lambie and Glenn Lazarus as they told media they are committed to voting against cuts to new parents’ paid time at home.   

Press conference: Senator Lazarus, Senator Lambie, Fair Agenda, Parenthood & Fair Agenda member Heather and her son Luca

It’s an important victory and the culmination of more than 9 months of campaigning since the Abbott government first announced its plan to cut parental leave on Mother's Day last year.

It means that the proposed cuts to parental leave will not succeed under this parliament. Along with commitments from Senators Lambie and Lazarus, consistent community campaigning has also secured block votes from Senator Xenophon and Senator Madigan (who went on the record after receiving the research commissioned by Fair Agenda members). These commitments, combined with consistent opposition from Labor and The Greens mean new parents' paid time at home is safe!

Here’s what we've been able to achieve so far:

Last week, representatives of Fair Agenda and The Parenthood, together with Fair Agenda member Heather and her son Luca took your message to Parliament House, and secured support from key crossbench Senators Lambie and Lazarus:

Group photo: Senator Lazarus, Lambie, Fair Agenda, Parenthood and Fair Agenda member Heather and her son Luca

You can watch Senator Lazarus’s commitment to members here:

Video: Senator Lazarus pledge

This followed Fair Agenda's rapid response work at the start of the year, releasing an expert report commissioned by members that showed the devastating impact the Turnbull government's new attempt to cut leave in December would have had: 

Headline: Mothers $10k worse off
Here's the coverage of how key crossbench Senator John Madigan (who had the casting votes on this issue) responded to the proposed cuts after seeing our report:

Headline: 'Mean and stupid' proposal

These commitments mean that the new attempts to cut parental leave announced by the Turnbull government in December last year won't succeed.

It built on months of campaigning against the Abbott government's initial cuts, and months of Fair Agenda members calling, emailing and meeting with key cross-bench Senators to make sure they know about the strong community opposition to the government’s cuts. This initial community pressure helped ensure the initial Abbott government proposal was politically impossible for them to pass: 

Qld members meet with Senator Lazarus
Together we've defeated attempts by the Abbott and Turnbull government to tear precious time at home from new parents. We've helped turn the tide on this issue – and stop changes that would have been devastating for tens of thousands of families across the country. 

But the government haven’t dropped their cuts yet. And if they choose to stand by them at the next budget, this could be a live issue at the next election. That’s why our work together is so important.

Campaigns like this are only possible because of support from Fair Agenda members like you -- can you chip in to help make more campaigns like this possible?  http://fairagenda.org/donate

And, make sure you help shape our priorities around this election. As the election approaches, many of the issues our community care about could be on the table - including parental leave. That's why it's important we know what Fair Agenda members like you want to see our community focus on. Can you take 10 minutes to fill in our member survey and share which issues of fairness and equality for women you’d like to see Fair Agenda focus on in the lead up to the election?   https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/FairAgenda

Written by Renee Carr
24 March 2016

Dear Prime Minister,

Last year you declared that domestic violence was a national priority, affirming the right of women and children to feel safe and live without fear of violence.

We welcome your commitment, and last September’s Women’s Safety Package. However, we are extremely worried that women’s safety is at risk because of inadequate government funding of the services that respond to and prevent domestic and family violence.

We express our utmost concern that thousands of women are being left in dangerous situations, because the specialist services they rely on to achieve safety are not being adequately resourced. These include:

  • Specialist family and domestic violence services - which aren’t resourced to respond to more than a fraction of police referrals they receive, or to provide the breadth of outreach and case support the women affected by abuse need;
  • Specialist crisis and transitional accommodation services - which aren’t able to provide refuge to all the women who can’t safely stay at home;
  • Family Violence Prevention Legal Services - which are a vital specialist service for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, but aren’t resourced to meet the significant demand for their service, particularly in metropolitan and urban areas; 
  • Community legal centres including women’s legal services - which are being forced to turn away thousands of women affected by violence; leaving them without the legal information and advice that can be critical to escaping abuse; and
  • Men’s behaviour change programs - which are in such high demand that men who have used violence are having to wait up to six months to even be assessed as eligible for programs. That’s a waiting list to even go on the real waiting list.

Finding a way to escape an abuser is difficult and often dangerous. For most women it’s impossible to do without support. But right now, inadequate funding is effectively closing the escape route of thousands of women.

Prime Minister Turnbull, you’ve declared that domestic violence is a national priority. National priorities must also be budget priorities.

We, the undersigned, urge the Commonwealth Government to immediately commit the dedicated, secure and ongoing federal funding needed to:

  • Ensure every woman reaching out for help to live free from violence can access it. That means adequately resourcing: specialist family and domestic violence services; related sexual assault services; crisis and transitional accommodation services; legal assistance services - particularly women’s legal services and other community legal centres; Family Violence Prevention Legal Services; family and relationship services; and related specialist services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, women from culturally and linguistically diverse communities, women with disabilities, and others who face barriers to service access.
  • Expand the capacity of, and access to, evidence-based perpetrator interventions like Men’s Behaviour Change programs; and
  • Guarantee long-term support for the expanded primary prevention programs needed to address the underlying drivers of violence.

Yours in anticipation,

Fair Agenda
Never Alone
Domestic Violence Victoria
Domestic Violence New South Wales
Family Violence Prevention Legal Services
No To Violence/Men’s Referral Service
National Association of Community Legal Centres
Australian Women Against Violence Alliance
Tara Costigan Foundation
Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia
WESNET
Australian Women’s Health Network
Qld Domestic Violence Services Network
Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria
Domestic Violence Crisis Service (ACT)
Women’s Community Shelters
Women’s Housing Limited
Junction Australia
WISHIN
North Coast WDVCAS
WWDACT
Emerge Women and Children’s Support Network
Domestic Violence Legal Workers Network (WA)
Domestic Violence Service Management
Doris Women’s Refuge
Older Women’s Network Australia Inc.
Women’s Council for Domestic & Family Violence Services (WA)
Women’s Law Centre of WA Inc.
Djinda Services
Patricia Giles Centre
Peel Community Legal Services
Shelter WA
Federation of Community Legal Centres
SCALES Community Legal Centre
Melbourne City Mission
Ishar Multicultural Women’s Health Centre
PMH Domestic & Family Violence Specialist Service
The Humanitarian Group
Carrie’s Place 
Canberra Rape Crisis Centre
Sydney Women’s Counselling Centre
Barwon CASA
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service (Qld) Ltd.
Women’s Legal Service NSW
South West Refuge Inc.
Zonta House Refuge Association Inc.
Sexual Assault Support Service (Inc.)
Women’s Health Victoria
NSW Council of Social Services
Share & Care Community Services Group
Midland Information Debt and Legal Advocacy Service Inc.
Coalition of Women’s Domestic Violence Services SA
Penrith Women’s Health Centre
Beryl Women Inc.
Good Samaritan Inn Crisis Accommodation
Mallee Family Care
Eastern Region Domestic Violence Services Network Inc.
Geraldton Resource Centre Inc.
WDVCAS NSW Inc.
Warrina Domestic and Family Violence Specialist Service’s Cooperative Ltd
Eastern Domestic Violence Service (EDVOS)
Mudgin-gal Aboriginal Women’s Centre
Security 4 Women
Women’s Electoral Lobby
National Foundation for Australian Women
Australian Council of Social Services
Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia
National Council of Jewish Women
Oxfam Australia
Country Women’s Association of NSW
YWCA Victoria
YWCA Housing
Women with Disabilities Victoria
Jessie Street National Women’s Library
Australian Cross Disability Alliance
Victorian Immigrant and Refugee Women’s Coalition Australian
Federation of Graduate Women
Immigrant Women’s Speakout Association of NSW Ethnic Community Services Cooperative Ltd
Addison Road Community Centre
Soroptimist International Australia
Sisters Inside
National Council of Single Mothers and their Children 
Migrant Women Lobby Group of SA 
ACTU
Australian Lesbian Health Coalition
Manly Warringah Women’s Resource Centre
Coalition for Women's Refuges
Collective Shout
Relationships Australia, Victoria
Network of Alcohol and other Drug Agencies (NADA)
NADA Women's AOD Services Network
Centre for Human Rights Education, Curtin University
Women's Health NSW
Wirringa Baiya Aboriginal Women's Legal Centre
Amnesty International Australia
Mitcham Family Violence Education and Support Service
The Deli Women & Children's Centre
WASH House Inc.
Central Australian Women's Legal Service
If you would like to add your organisation's support to this joint call for full funding, please get in touch via info@fairagenda.org. 
Written by Renee Carr
16 March 2016

It's been two years since the Fair Agenda community came together to take action in our very first campaign. And looking back at what we've achieved in that time, I couldn't be prouder to be part of this community. 

In just two years we've not only grown from a community of a few hundred, to 35,000 -- and shown that, together, we have the ability to influence national policies and narratives on issues affecting women.

We’ve become a powerful force for change. Together we’ve shaped the national media agenda on key issues and helping change national policy outcomes.

But seriously limited resourcing is holding back our community's ability to drive change on a larger scale. So far, all of Fair Agenda’s impact has been delivered on a shoestring budget - a fraction of that relied on by similar national campaigning organisations. Our community of 35,000 has been supported by just one full time staff member, and a handful of generous and talented volunteers. 

To keep winning the change we need, we need to grow Fair Agenda’s power. That means doubling our resources. Can you chip in to help take our community’s campaigns to the next level?

Over the past two years I’ve been in awe of what we’ve been able to achieve together...

 

Together, we kept a national spotlight on the dangerous under-funding of family violence services, and helped win $4 million for 1800 RESPECT

Since former Australian of the Year Rosie Batty drew attention to the federal funding cuts stripping funds from vital family violence services last year, Fair Agenda members have been working to pressure the federal government to not only reverse those cuts, but to fully fund the services that support women to live free from violence.

On budget night Fair Agenda ensured that funding for family violence services was front and centre of media analysis, working with The Project to launch our report into the federal funding needed to help women escape their abusers. The segment went viral, and the accompanying call to #Showmethemoney trended nationally. 

The massive national coverage our report prompted ensured that the government faced widespread scrutiny for their failure to announce any new additional funding for services on budget night. In fact - then Treasurer Joe Hockey didn't even mention the domestic violence crisis in his budget speech.

In the days of national media coverage that followed the launch of Fair Agenda’s report, senior government ministers (including now Prime Minister Turnbull) were publicly questioned about the lack of funding for vital services, including for 1800 RESPECT - the national counselling hotline which at the time was unable to answer 18,631 calls every year because of inadequate funding.

After days of this national pressure, the federal government announced $4 million of additional funding for 1800 RESPECT.

It was a vital win, and one that means thousands more women will be able to access 1800 RESPECT, a critical first point of support for many women affected by violence.

But 1800 RESPECT isn't the only service without the funding it needs to help women live free from danger. So our community has continued to build pressure in the lead up to this year’s federal budget and election, to make sure full funding of family violence services stays on the national agenda.

In September, within minutes of Prime Minister Turnbull’s takeover as Prime Minister, Fair Agenda members flooded his email inbox with messages urging him to urgently commit full funding for services. Then, days later when he announced his Women’s Safety Package (a good step forward, but nowhere near enough to address the crisis) - Fair Agenda was there to make sure the government weren’t left off the media hook - ensuring national media coverage of the announcement recognised the significant funding gaps still leaving thousands of women in danger.

Since then we’ve been working to keep this issue on the agenda in new and creative ways - including flooding the Treasurer’s mailbox with season’s greetings urging him not to make funding decisions that would leave women in danger in his next budget.

Since then we’ve been working to keep this issue on the agenda in new and creative ways - including flooding the Treasurer’s mailbox with dozens of Christmas cards urging him not to make funding decisions that would leave women in danger in his next budget.

And this month, as pre-budget discussions reached fever pitch at parliament house, we stood with family violence experts and survivors to deliver a press conference calling for the government to stop leaving thousands of women without access to family violence services. This message made headlines across the Fairfax papers, SBS World News, NITV, Huffington Post and Mamamia - and featured on Sky News. We also took family violence experts to meet with key politicians from across the political spectrum and brief them on the urgent need for full funding of the services women rely on to escape family violence. Together we put family violence funding remains in the pre-budget media agenda.

Press conference on family violence funding

Experts meet with Jacqui Lambie

 

  

We helped protect new parents’ paid time at home with their newborns

When former Treasurer Joe Hockey announced (on Mother’s Day, of all days) that the government planned to cut paid parental leave, your reaction was swift and fierce. Within 72 hours more than 14,000 people had joined the campaign opposing the cuts.

Over the months that followed the government’s announcement, Fair Agenda members emailed, called and met with key crossbench Senators to urge them to use their deciding votes to block any proposed cuts to parental leave.

We kept up the pressure over months and ensured that the government couldn’t negotiate their brutal cuts through the Senate.

Then, when the Turnbull government were forced to abandon the original cuts; and tried to launch a new form of cuts in the lead up to Christmas, Fair Agenda members led a strategic rapid response. Members donated to commission research from experts at the Women and Work Group at the University of Sydney, showing the public and key crossbench Senators the devastating impact the Turnbull government’s new cuts would have on working families. That report made headlines...

… and prompted key crossbench Senator John Madigan to tell media the plan was "mean and stupid" and tell Fair Agenda members he was committed to voting against the cuts.

Then, last month Fair Agenda member Heather and her son Luca joined Executive Director Renee and our friends at The Parenthood at parliament for a press conference where Senators Jacqui Lambie and Glenn Lazarus stood with us and committed to block cuts to paid parental leave!

Press conference: Senator Lazarus, Senator Lambie, Fair Agenda, Parenthood & Fair Agenda member Heather and her son Luca

The commitments from Senators Lambie, Lazarus, Madigan and Senator Xenophon to vote against the cuts to parental leave; in combination with existing opposition from Labor and The Greens means that new parents’ paid time at home is safe under this parliament! 

 

We defended reproductive rights

When reports broke that a young woman being detained on Nauru for seeking asylum was having to plead with the Australian government to be able to access a termination procedure, Fair Agenda members helped build pressure on the government to ensure she was able to access health services.

In 2014, off the back of months of speculation about former Victorian MP Geoff Shaw’s attempts to use his balance of power position to attack Victoria's abortion related legislation, Fair Agenda went to work. Together we got more than 100 candidates to publicly disclose their personal voting intention on issues related to reproductive rights, to make sure voters would know where they stood on this issue should the parliament be asked to vote.

 

We called out victim blaming

Last year when Albury Mayor Kevin Mack took a line out of the Victim-Blaming 101 textbook, and said "I always have encouraged women not to walk alone, to have someone with them at all times, because that in itself is an invitation for someone to take advantage of you.”.4

Hundreds of Fair Agenda members immediately spoke out, signing a petition calling for him to apologise for his victim-blaming. Together with our allies, we publicly called on Cnr Mack to retract his unacceptable comments, and saw him quickly issue this an apology for his comments, without reservation.5

 

We held a major company to account

After Fair Agenda member Mark came across a doll promoting dangerously unhealthy body image in his local Myer store, he and thousands of Fair Agenda members called on Myer to take the doll off its shelves. Local Members helped Mark deliver their concerns to Myer’s flagship store - attracting major national news coverage, and prompting Myer to tell Channel 10 news they wouldn’t be ordering any more of the dolls. 

We put gender on the agenda

After the Prime Minister announced a Cabinet with just one woman, Fair Agenda worked creatively to counter the toxic narrative that there simply weren’t any “women of merit” available. Fair Agenda worked with online media outlet Women’s Agenda to profile some of the more than capable women serving in the Government’s ranks, helping draw early media attention to the qualifications of a number of senior women who now have a seat at the table.

When Just for Laughs Sydney announced their pre-sale line-up in 2014, there wasn’t a woman in sight. When comedian Maeve Marsden called them out on it, 1,052 Fair Agenda rallied behind her - calling on Just for Laughs to address their gender problem. Together, Fair Agenda members made sure this issue dominated Just for Laugh's social media in the first weeks of their promotions. When the festival announced their full line up months later, there were 8 women in the show; and one woman included in every group event at the festival.

And back in 2014, in our very first cut-through campaign - when the Sports Party (who at the time were battling to retain their Senate spot in the federal Senate) used an image of a woman wearing no top to promote their election campaign, Fair Agenda members called it out, drawing much needed media attention to the party’s (lack of) policies related to women.

----

Want to help make more campaigns like this possible? It will only be possible with your support.

 

-References-

1. Gender pay gap statistics, Workplace Gender Equality Agency, 1 March 2016.

2. There are more men called Peter leading ASX 200 companies than women, Women’s Agenda, 6 March 2015.

3. NSW Labor MP Linda Burney hopes to become first Indigenous woman in House of Representatives, ABC news, 1 March 2016.

4 & 5. Albury Mayor Kevin Mack sorry for 'victim blaming' rape comments on women walking alone, ABC News, 1 May 2015.

Written by Renee Carr
13 March 2016
Nurses, teachers

Just a few days before Christmas the Government launched a new attack on Paid Parental Leave. It was part of a classic move known in political circles as ‘taking out the trash’ -- announcing a series of terrible new policies all together, at a time when you know most people won’t be reading the news. And so far the Government have been getting away with it.

But here’s the good news: despite the holiday season, Fair Agenda members across the country dug deep and chipped in to crowdfund an expert report to break down what the proposal will mean for families - to cut through the government’s spin, and show that these cuts are both unsound and unfair.

Today Fair Agenda have launched that report - created by the experts at the Women and Work Research Group at the University of Sydney. 

Here's the top line:

  • We can expect that approximately 79,000 women would be adversely affected by this proposed cut.

  • Analysis of the impact of the proposed cuts on some example families shows that nurses, teachers, ambulance service workers and retail workers will be hit hard by the proposed changes. Under the government’s proposed cuts, the primary carers in our case studies would be left with the equivalent of just 7 – 13 weeks of their family's living costs. That’s less than half of the 26 weeks experts recommend. The financial loss suffered by these families would range from $3,942 to $10,512.

  • Given what experts know about how women in Australia use parental leave, they expert that the proposed cuts will:
    • prevent more women from spending critical time at home with their new baby;
    • lead to financial duress;
    • reduce the number of women able to afford to stay at home for 26 weeks and thus adversely impact on the health and welfare outcomes of new babies and mothers; and
    • increase demand for childcare for the very young, in a system that is already struggling to keep up with demand.

The report also shows that if the cuts are approved, we can expect negative flow on impacts for new families, and the communities in which they live. 

The good news is that there's still a chance to stop these cruel cuts from becoming a reality.

The fate of these cuts will be decided by the Senate cross bench, and we know that they've been influenced by community backlash to proposed cuts to parental leave before. In fact, the only reason the government have announced these new cuts is because the original cuts proposed by former Treasurer Joe Hockey on Mother's Day were so unpopular with the community they couldn't get them passed through the Senate.

Can you help make sure the Senate cross bench know where the community stand on these new proposed cuts?

  • Sign your opposition to the cuts on our petition here:  www.fairagenda.org/ppl
  • Or, if you've already signed, email your local cross bench Senator asking them to oppose the cuts today:
    • Victorians: Email Senator Ricky Muir and Senator John Madigan
    • Queenslanders: Email Senator Glenn Lazarus
    • Tasmanians: Email Senator Jacqui Lambie
    • West Australians: Email Senator Dio Wang
    • South Australians: Email Senator Nick Xenophon (note: Senator Xenophon has already indicated to media he plans to oppose these cuts, so please send him a message thanking him for indicating that he will oppose the cuts)
    • Live in another state/territory? Based on previous reports it appears all Government Senators intend to vote for the changes, and that Labor and Greens Senators will oppose them. Other cross bench Senators David Leyonhjelm and Bob Day have indicated they support cuts to paid parental leave. So rather than targeting your local Senators, we'd love your help engaging your friends with the campaign. Can you share this report with your friends and ask them to sign their opposition to the cuts? Click here to share this post on Facebook.

 

Click below to access the full report:

Written by Renee Carr
13 January 2016
ppl_explainer

It's a bad start to the festive season. But here's the good news: we've already won on this issue once. According to Fairfax, the Minister today said "the government was 'reconfiguring [its original cuts] after the backlash", and told reporters he was still in negotiations with the Senate crossbenchers about these new cuts – that means our campaigning is working, and there's still a chance for us to stop this.

The government is trying to sell its new announcement as an improvement -- but measured against Joe Hockey's Mother's Day announcements, anything would look good. 

The reality is that at the core of their proposal there is still a massive cut to the time parents will be able to afford to spend nurturing their newborn in the critical first year. And with women still making up 99% of those accessing paid parental leave, we can expect any cuts will disproportionately impact on women. With a pay gap of almost 18%, and economic disparities between women and men often manifesting at motherhood, this cut would drag us in exactly the wrong direction.

It’s important to remember the details of the system we have in place right now. Under that system a primary carer can access 18 weeks of paid leave at the minimum wage. This is part of a combined leave package that they can then top up with any additional leave they've negotiated with their employer, to help them cover costs while they stay at home caring for their new baby.

With these new, repackaged cuts, instead of providing 18 weeks of guaranteed minimum support to eligible mum or dad, the government want to leave these parents with access to a maximum of 18 weeks leave.

What does that mean exactly? Well, looking at the case study of the impact on a part-time nurse working in Victoria who is entitled to 10 weeks of employer provided care time for a new baby…

  • Under the current scheme, they would receive 18 weeks of minimum wage support from the government ($11,826) – topped up by 10 weeks of employer provided care they have negotiated into their contract ($7,200). That comes to a total of $19,026 – or enough for two parents and a newborn to cover living expenses for about 11 weeks.
  • Under what we understand as the government’s proposed new scheme, a nurse would receive 10 weeks of employer care ($7,200), and then the government would then only provide support to bring their supported leave time up to 18 weeks. So the nurse would receive 8 weeks of government leave at the minimum wage ($5,256). That would leave the new family with just $12,456. That’s enough to cover the family’s expenses for about 7 weeks.

Remember that experts recommend a new parent should have 26 weeks leave as the minimum amount of time off work to provide health and welfare benefits to both the mother and newborn. 

Any cut to parental leave is bad for the country and bad for families. As a society we all have a responsibility to make sure our children are cared for in the most nurturing environments. We all have a stake in ensuring the next generation has a bright future. Paid time at home for new parents and affordable childcare is the best way to keep our country strong. That’s why we should be extending the time parents can stay home – not cutting it. 

If the response to the government’s last announcement has demonstrated anything, it’s that attacks on families and new parents aren’t popular with their voters, which is no doubt why they’ve added a tied component to today’s announcement – proposed changes to the eligibility test, one that will allow more casual workers and women in hazardous jobs to claim payments. That is a positive proposal, but one that shouldn’t be tied to cutting the time tens of thousands of other parents have to care for their baby; or dragging our country’s parental leave policy backwards.

That’s why it’s critical we let our Senators know we oppose any cuts to parental leave.

The good news is campaigning from communities like ours has already forced the government to abandon its proposals once.  After former Treasurer Joe Hockey announced the first proposal to cut parental leave on Mother’s Day this year thousands of Fair Agenda members came together to sign our opposition to any cuts to parental leave. Then, in the months that followed, as the government tried to negotiate those cuts through the Senate, we worked tirelessly to show the critical cross bench members the extent of community opposition to this change.

Over months we placed calls into their offices, sent them emails, requested meetings about the topic – and Queensland Fair Agenda members even nabbed a meeting with Senator Glenn Lazarus, delivered petition signatures and powerful personal messages from other Queensland voters opposed to the cuts.

When we work together and talk about what the government’s changes mean for our families and communities, we can influence decision-makers and sway votes.

There are 6 cross-bench Senators who could be potential allies on this topic. Can you give them a call?

Victorians

Senator Ricky Muir. Call him on (03) 5144 3639. Click here for more details.

Senator John Madigan. Call him on (03) 5331 2321. Click here for more details.

South Australians

Senator Nick Xenophon. Call him on (08) 8232 1144. Click here for more details.

Queenslanders

Senator Glenn Lazarus. Call him on (07) 3001 8940. Click here for more details.

Tasmanians

Senator Jacqui Lambie. Call her on (03) 6431 2233. Click here for more details.

West Australians

Senator Dio Wang. Call him on (08) 9486 9650. Click here for more details.

 

If you haven't joined the campaign yet, sign up at www.fairagenda.org/ppl

-References- 

Paid parental leave: Government to change proposed offerings, Social Services Minister confirms, ABC News, 16 December 2015.

MYEFO: Christian Porter finds $36 million to soften double-dipping, The Australian, 16 December 2015.

Written by Renee Carr
16 December 2015

There’s nothing quite like peeling open an envelope to find a lovely message from an old friend to remind you of the real meaning of Christmas.

And as I opened my first card this week, it got me thinking, what better way to send budget decision-makers a message at this time of year than by Christmas card?

As our leaders head back to their electorate offices to wrap up work for the year and order their Christmas hampers, they’ll be expecting us to fall silent about the horrific number of women who have been killed or abused by their partners this year.

But instead, can you help me make sure -- in the best tradition of the season -- we’re sending the Treasurer dozens of Christmas messages reminding him of what really matters: making sure no woman is left in danger?

Click here to buy one of Fair Agenda's special Christmas cards and we'll handwrite your message in and get it into the Treasurer's post box.

For me the true spirit of the festive season is in doing good for others - so I hope you’ll join me and advocating for the funding needed to ensure the many women who will be experiencing abuse this Christmas aren't left without the service support they need to escape their abuser.

The festive season is supposed to be one of love and celebration – but without full funding of family violence services, too many women will be left in danger this summer. Things have to change. That’s why it’s critical we show our leaders we won’t rest until no woman is left in danger.

Buy one of our Christmas cards and we’ll send your message to the Treasurer in a way he’ll least expect.

These cards are part of something much bigger and more powerful than any single message or action. Since the last budget - when the government effectively ignored the family violence crisis - we’ve been working together to build the constant community pressure it will take to win change on this issue. Fair Agenda members have joined together to take thousands of actions, publish critical reports and drive hard-hitting media coverage of family violence. Together, we’ve won funding for one critical front-line service – now can you help us show our budget-decision makers we’re not going to stop until they commit the funding needed to ensure no woman is left in danger?

NB: If you can't afford to buy one of the cards, send us an email at info@fairagenda.org with your name, address and a message you'd like to send the Treasurer and we'll work to try and deliver your message in another creative way.

 

-- If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000. --

 

Written by Renee Carr
11 December 2015

Fair Agenda are excited to invite our Melbourne supporters to a special pre-release screening of the new film Suffragette at Cinema Nova at 7pm, Thursday 10th December! (Click here to buy tickets)

 

Following the story of a young laundress speaking out against a broken system - Suffragette is a gripping film that shows the power of women's campaigns and movements to transform our society (if you haven't seen the trailer yet, check it out here). It's the first feature film to focus on the story of the foot soldiers of the Suffragette movement - and we're very excited to share it with you!

The stories we tell are important. And all too often the stories told in our cinemas aren't about women. In fact in 2014, research showed that women made up just 12% of protagonists in the top-grossing films of 2014; and only 30% of speaking characters. And amongst the 2015 Oscar Best Picture nominees, only 2 of the films even passed the Bechdel test.

That's why we're so excited there's now a feature film about suffragettes. That's also why it's important we acknowledge Suffragette only tells the story of one group of women - and it doesn't share the story of women of colour. Women like Sophia Duleep Singh, a pioneering suffragette who marched alongside Emmeline Pankhurst in protests outside parliament, who was thrown into prison for taking part in the 'No vote, no tax' campaign, and who even threw herself in front of the Prime Minister's car.

We hope you'll join us at this special screening event, and post screening discussion with our special guests Celeste Liddle and Dr Clare Wright, where we'll chat about:

  • The history of the suffragette and feminist movement in Australia - including the fight to recognise Aboriginal women's right to vote, which continued until 1965, 
  • The ongoing fight for women's rights and campaigns to drive change in Australia right now, and
  • Lessons we can learn from the Suffragettes and other women who have shaped our history.

Funds raised from the night will go towards Fair Agenda's campaigns for a fair and equal future for women.

Buy your tickets here.

 

 

 

Written by Renee Carr
28 November 2015

Today is White Ribbon Day, but instead of committing the additional funds needed to to actually address the family violence crisis, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and new Social Services Minister Christian Porter held a tone-deaf press conference that was long on rhetoric and short on substance – vaguely re-stating their existing, insufficient commitments and leaving out any mention of the current funding crisis limiting family violence services.

Put simply: this is a wildly insufficient response to the family violence crisis, and means the Government is choosing to deliberately leave women in danger.

Most of the critical family violence and prevention and response services fall under Minister Porter’s portfolio - which means that his choice as the new Minister is to fully fund family violence services - or to continue leaving thousands of women without access to the specialist support they need to escape their abusers.

This morning shows he doesn’t yet get it.

Can you take a few minutes to send Minister Porter a quick personal email and build the pressure for him to do the right thing and commit full funding for family violence services?

Today is the new Minister's first big moment in spotlight on the biggest hot-button issue in his portfolio. Tonight he’s up for a grilling on a special family violence-focussed episode of Q&A, straight after the second instalment of the investigative doco Hitting Home on ABC. There’s no doubt he’ll have to field tough questions on this topic. Let’s make sure he’s feeling the pressure from all directions.

Now is the perfect opportunity to make sure our message – that nothing except full-funding is good enough – is all that he hears, all night long.

We’re a part of something really big right now. National outrage about the family violence crisis is growing. Last night Liberal MP Sarah Henderson broke down in Parliament talking about a friend who was murdered in a family violence incident,[1] tomorrow night another hard-hitting documentary Call Me Dad airs on ABC, and Rosie Batty will be calling for further action in the Victorian Parliament.

Yesterday, Fair Agenda members kicked off a powerful letter writing campaign to build champions within the government lobbying budget decision makers internally. Today we need to ramp up our efforts and make sure Minister Porter knows he’ll be held accountable on this issue.

Together, with a big community backlash and working contacts in the media, we can help build the pressure o the Minister to commit increased funding for these potentially life-saving services. 

Can you help make this coordinated effort even bigger by sending a personal email to Minister Porter? Click here for the Minister's contact deatils and tips to get started.


The political establishment needs to know that anything less than full funding for services is unacceptable, and we won’t let it slide.

-References-

1. Liberal MP Sarah Henderson makes emotional plea to break 'cycle of domestic violence' after friend's death, ABC News, 25 November 2015.

If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.auIn an emergency, call 000. -

Written by Renee Carr
25 November 2015

To change this horrifying reality, we need to make the community call for action around this issue so loud the government can’t afford to ignore it.

To help make that possible, Ethical Jobs are matching all donations to Fair Agenda’s campaign for full funding of family violence services, up to $10,000!

We know the federal government are already considering next year’s budget – deciding which areas they will prioritise in spending negotiations. That’s why we need to step up our campaign efforts now; and build the community pressure behind the call for full funding of family violence services.

We’ve already proven that when we work together and speak out about this issue, we can influence funding decisions.

Fair Agenda’s campaign efforts on budget night this year helped secure $4 million of additional funding for critical counselling service 1800 RESPECT. Then, in September, when new Prime Minister Turnbull announced the government’s new funding package, FairAgenda was able to work with services to provide critical information on the thousands of women still unable to access the service support they need to safely escape their abuser. Together, we made sure this information continued to cut through in key media coverage.

Now we have to work together to ramp up the campaign up again. And we have a plan:

  • Work with family violence survivors and experts to keep this issue in the headlines;
  • Put pressure on key decision-makers to commit the funding needed to tackle the national crisis;
  • Support Fair Agenda members to mobilise in their local communities and put this on the agenda for their local MP; and
  • Mobilise in big, bold actions that make this issue impossible to ignore.

But Fair Agenda needs your support to help make this plan a reality.

Fair Agenda needs to raise a further $20,000 to make the critical next phase of the campaign possible.

Can you donate $25 or more to help make sure our community can keep building the pressure behind the call for full funding of family violence services? Your donation will be matched dollar-for-dollar by our friends at Ethical Jobs up until 31 December 2015.

 

--If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000.--

Written by Renee Carr
25 November 2015

Today outgoing Prime Minister Tony Abbott himself admitted: the challenge of domestic violence is still yet to be addressed by his government. 

"The Abbott-led government left women in danger -- deciding not to provide the additional funding needed to ensure all women in need can access family violence services." says Renee Carr, Executive Director of Fair Agenda. 

"Those decisions mean that thousands of women taking the brave step of trying to escape an abuser are being left with nowhere to turn, in a time they're at great risk." 

"Prime Minister Turnbull now has an opportunity to change that - by providing the resources needed to help women escape abuse, and to stop further violence." 

"This year more than 2,800 women are expected to be turned away from emergency accommodation services like women's refuges - services that need an additional $34 million a year in federal funding." says Ms Carr.  

"At the same time, Community Legal Centres, where a third of the work is family violence related, are being forced to turn away more than 150,000 people a year due to lack of funding."

"Family Violence Prevention Legal Services need an additional $28 million to ensure they can assist people who need their services.

"More than 36,000 voters have joined the campaign calling for action on this issue, and polling has shown that most Australians consider family violence to be as much or more of a threat than terrorism. It's clear that the new Prime Minister has a public mandate for strong action. The question is - will he too decide to leave women in harm's way?" says Ms Carr.

For further comment or information on the family violence funding gap

Contact: Renee Carr, Fair Agenda

E: media@fairagenda.org

M: 0435 597 976

Written by Renee Carr
15 September 2015
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