Fair Agenda Blog

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

The PM's support for a target to make the party less 'blokey' is important progress, and it could open the door to meaningful change. Or it could end in more business as usual - with talented women left “knocking on the door of the cabinet”.

The Prime Minister has indicated he’ll be looking to an internal Party report for guidance on the specific targets and measures the Party should adopt to become less 'blokey'.[2] It’s critical that the Party commits to strong targets. And there’s an opportunity for us to influence that. 

The report on this topic is being prepared by a team that includes members of parliament Minister Michaelia Cash and Senator Linda Reynolds. Can you help show them that voters want to see women equally represented in the Liberal ranks, and support strong measures to ensure that happens sooner rather than later? Click here to send them a quick personal email.

Several senior Liberal women have already spoken about the importance of targeting equality, including the NSW Liberals Deputy Leader Gladys Berejiklian,[3] It’s critical we show they have community support on this.

Other Liberal women have shared specific measures they believe could address barriers to women’s representation. Dr Sharman Stone MP has suggested the Party require equal number of female and male candidates at every pre-selection contest,[4] and Gladys Berejiklian has suggested that all parties set targets for the number of women pre-selected in winnable upper and lower house seats at every election until they achieve equal representation.[5] They’re both good suggestions, and ones we should throw our support behind.

There’s no doubt that the discussion about exact targets will be hotly contested within the Party. That's why it's critical those advocating for strong measures and targets can show they have public support. 


-References-

1.&2. Tony Abbott supports targets for female representation in Liberal Party as report highlights lack of women, ABC News, 15 August 2015.

3&5. NSW Treasurer Gladys Berejiklian calls for target of 50% women MPs, SMH, 18 August 2015.

4. Sharman Stone says quotas for women are needed, AFR, 28 July 2015.

Written by Renee Carr
25 August 2015
Categories: representation · women

The birth of a new baby should be a time of joy, celebration and of looking forward. Not of anxiety about making ends meet or being pushed back to work before mum or baby are ready. That’s exactly why good paid parental leave is so important.

This new report shows that the government are asking the Senate to approve cuts that would tear away the equivalent of 4 weeks of average living expenses for the everyday families modelled in the report – like a part-time teacher living with her partner and newborn in Adelaide who stands to lose $11,520 if the Senate approves the proposed cuts.

This same family would be left with only enough leave to cover 7 weeks of average living expenses for families like hers. That’s 19 weeks less than the 26 weeks experts recommend as the minimum leave time for a new mother.

Read the full report here: www.fairagenda.org/ppl_report

Written by Renee Carr
17 August 2015
good news

It won’t come as a surprise to you that with a national epidemic of domestic violence and a record high gender pay gap there's no end to the work we could be doing. The bad news is, right now our movement doesn’t have the resources it needs to even defend against all the attacks on our existing rights, far less to secure the changes we need to advance toward equality.

But here's the good news. We know that together our community can achieve remarkable things. Less than two years ago, Fair Agenda was just a dream -- then 240 people chipped in help make it a reality. Since then, our growing movement has stepped up to influence political, business and media leaders – all with just the support of one team member and a handful of dedicated volunteers.

But there’s still much, much more to be done. To win the change we need, we'll need to keep growing our size and strength, and building on the momentum we've created so far. Right now our ability to do that is limited -- we're still $4,000 short of the funding we need to amp up campaigns that will be make-or-break in the next two months. 

Can you chip in to make these immediate next steps possible?
 

Note: If you need your donation to be tax-deductible, please make it via our preferred donor relationship with the National Foundation for Australian Women. Simply click here and then select Fair Agenda as the organisation you would like your donation to be directed to. (Donations made directly to Fair Agenda are unfortunately not tax-deductible).

Your donation will allow Fair Agenda to step up the fight for funding of domestic violence services, to build more pressure on key Senate cross benchers to block the attack on paid parental leave, and to keep building on the momentum we've created together in the past year...



Since we ran our first campaign, our community has grown to more than 32,000; we've taken action together in 32 campaigns; and we've taken our message to key decision-makers across politics, business and the media. 



On federal budget night, we helped put the federal government’s under-funding of family violence services front and centre in the budget coverage. The release of our ‘What it will take’ report on The Project helped prompt four days of national news coverage, and helped win an additional $4 million of funding for the national hotline 1800RESPECT.



But we didn't stop there – securing coverage on Sky News, ABC Radio, Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and Women’s Agenda; funding adverts to get our powerful video about the importance of family violence services in front of thousands of voters in key electorates; and working with Homelessness Australia to reveal the $68 million funding shortfall that is leaving thousands of women fleeing domestic violence without access to refuge.

If the past six months have made anything clear, it’s that to defend our rights and secure advances for women in this country we’re going to have to keep growing our movement, speaking up and holding decision makers accountable. 

But we'll need your support to make that possible. So if you can, please consider chipping in to fund our next steps.

Written by Renee Carr
29 June 2015

During the weeks that followed, thousands of Fair Agenda members echoed her call; and Fair Agenda sent this letter to Australia's major news outlets, asking them if they would commit to do just that. 

--

To The Editor in Chief,

I write on behalf of Fair Agenda – a community of Australians working to drive change that promotes fairness and equality for women.

As you may be aware, during her National Press Club speech earlier this month Rosie Batty urged every Australian media outlet reporting on family violence to include links to family violence support services such as 1800 RESPECT in all stories.  

I am writing on behalf of Fair Agenda members to ask whether your outlet is committed to including details for 1800 RESPECT or other family violence services in all stories you run about domestic violence?

1800 RESPECT provides a critical support service – in crisis situations it can be life saving. Yet just 8% of articles published about domestic violence so far this year have included it.

Including 1800 RESPECT in media coverage about family violence is critical because many victims still don’t know where they can turn for support.

Fair Agenda members are running a public campaign around this matter, and will be maintaining a public list of which media outlets have and have not committed to include 1800 RESPECT in their articles.  

Fair Agenda will make this list public on the 30th June. I am writing to enquire as to your outlet’s position, to make sure it is accurately reflected in our list. 

We note that we our deadline for including responses is midday on Monday the 29th June. Can you please advise us if your outlet is committed to including 1800 RESPECT in all stories published about domestic violence, by then? You can get in touch with us via info@fairagenda.org.

Kind regards,

Renee Carr

on behalf of Fair Agenda

Written by Renee Carr
23 June 2015
Together we forced them to respond

This is an important victory for Fair Agenda members and the thousands of other concerned Australians who have joined the call for full funding of family violence services. 

Here’s what Fair Agenda members have made possible in this campaign so far…

Last Tuesday, just before the federal budget was announced, The Project covered the launch of Fair Agenda’s report on ‘What it will take’ to tackle our family violence crisis, sending the call to #showmethemoney to tackle family violence trending nationally. (Haven't seen the segment yet? You can check it out here).

The coverage of the report put domestic violence front and centre in budget coverage.  

Which made the absence of any new announcements of funding for family violence services on budget night a topic of extensive conversation, including in post-budget interviews like this one with the Treasurer. 

Our report, and the ensuing coverage forced key government Ministers to explain why this national emergency isn’t being treated as a funding priority. And the fact that they weren't able to answer that question, just made more headlines.

By Thursday, the call for funding was printed in papers across our capital cities. 


By the end of the week more than 35,000 of us joined the call for full funding of family violence services and pledged not to stop speaking up until we get it, and the The Project's segment launching our 'What it will take' report had been shared so many times it had been viewed more than half a million times on Facebook alone. 

Together, we created so much pressure that when Minister Cash appeared on Weekend Sunrise to discuss the campaign, and the government’s inadequate funding commitment for family violence services, she announced the government would be committing an additional $4 million to make sure all calls to our national counseling service 1800 RESPECT could be answered. 

It’s a great start. But it’s not nearly enough.
 

Fair Agenda's ‘What it will take’ report highlighted 9 service areas that are needed to tackle our family violence crisis. Including Community Legal Centres – where a third of the work is family violence related – who still have to turn away 150,000 people a year. Homelessness services, that act as a critical safety net for women who can no longer safely stay at home, turn away 423 people every night. And Family Violence Prevention and Legal Services still need an additional $28 million funding a year to meet need.

To win the change we need on this issue, we'll have to work together to keep making headlines, to build pressure on the federal government, and to take our message to the Ministers responsible for these services. And it won't be easy. That's why we need your help. Can you chip in to help make the next stage of the campaign possible?

 

--
References
1. Domestic violence: Government pledges $4m for helpline, considers monitoring offenders using GPS technology, ABC news, 17 May 2015.

Written by Renee Carr
19 May 2015
Government fail domestic violence test

It's exactly what Waleed Aly asked the government to do on budget night, launching Fair Agenda's What it will take report - in a clip that has since gone viral.

This year 24 women have been murdered in alleged domestic and family violence incidents. At the same time thousands of women trying to escape domestic and family violence are having to be turned away from services that are supposed to help keep them safe because of a federal funding shortfall -- and we don’t have the serious investment we need in programs that can help stop this violence. 

Yet on budget night we didn’t hear any new announcements of funding for family violence services.  That means that we can expect thousands of calls for help will keep going unanswered, thousands of women will be left to face court and their abusers without support, and women and children seeking refuge will keep being be turned away.

This is the appalling reality that Fair Agenda has highlighted in our What it will take report – infamously launched by Waleed Aly on The Project on budget night.  

Our report (which you can read for yourself here) shows that:

  • Last year Australia’s national phone counselling service 1800RESPECT had to let 18,631 requests for assistance go unanswered
  • Community legal centres – where domestic violence support makes up about a third of the work – had to turn away more than 150,000 people
  • Homelessness services – another critical family violence support service – had to turn away 423 people every night in 2013-14
  • Family Violence Prevention Legal Services – that help support Aboriginal victims and survivors of domestic violence – are also having to turn away those in need of support
  • Investment in primary prevention work is still piecemeal and inadequate

Budget night was a test of the government’s commitment to dealing with our domestic violence crisis, and it’s a test they failed.

To escape domestic violence, women need to know they’ve got somewhere to go. Family violence services act as a safety net; but right now that safety net is stretched to breaking point, and people are falling through the gaps.

So what will it take from the federal government to do their part in tackling our national emergency? Fair Agenda asked family violence experts, and they told us that to tackle this problem the federal government need to adequately support work in 9 key areas: 

  • Crisis Lines – like 1800 RESPECT and state crisis lines.
  • Specialist Women’s Services – that need to be at the centre of any response to family violence.
  • Family & Relationship Services – to support those seeking to escape and/or deal with family violence issues.
  • Legal Advice and Assistance – to make sure women aren’t left to navigate the complex legal system or face their abuser in court without support.
  • Accommodation, Housing & Homelessness support – to make sure women and their children have somewhere secure to go when it isn’t safe for them to stay at home.
  • Women’s Health Services – because 1 in 5 women affected by family violence first disclose this to their GP.
  • Specialist Support for Marginalised Communities – because people who experience multiple layers of marginalisation and disadvantage aren’t adequately supported by the current system, even though they’re often affected by domestic and family violence at greater rates. Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander women are 34 times more likely to be hospitalised as a result of family-violence related assault than other Australian women. Women from culturally and linguistically diverse communities can have their experience of violence compounded by limited access to services and consequences or fear of consequences for their migration status. Women with disabilities are twice as likely to experience domestic/family violence, yet services for for women with disabilities experiencing violence do not exist, are extremely limited, or exclusionary.
  • Men’s Behaviour Change – which works towards the safety and well-being of women and children by working with men who use violent and controlling behaviour.
  • Primary Prevention – need to stop violence before it occurs, by challenging the deeply ingrained attitudes, social norms and power inequalities that give rise to men’s violence against women.

We need serious, full funding in family violence services. Funding that puts an end to the situation where women in need are turned away from services that should be able to help keep them safe. Funding that supports serious, nation-wide programs to help stop this violence. That’s what it will take to tackle this crisis - and Fair Agenda members won’t rest until we get that commitment. 

I urge anyone else who cares about this issue to join us in standing up for what it will take at: www.fairagenda.org/whatwillittake

Written by Renee Carr
14 May 2015
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