The issues

The issues highlighted in Fair Agenda's scorecard are the four that Fair Agenda members have been campaigning on, and correspond with the top issue priorities set by Fair Agenda members in our most recent member survey.


More on funding to address family violence (click to view)

Escaping an abuser can be difficult and dangerous - in fact, the time in which a woman tries to escape is often a time she's in increased danger. That's why it's so important that a woman in need can access the services she needs to be safe. Every day family violence services aren't fully funded is another day women are left in danger.

We need a system that ensures every woman who needs crisis support, a safe and affordable place to live, or community legal support to get ongoing protection and navigate lengthy court processes, can access specialist services that are safe and understand their needs.

To address family violence our federal government needs to adequate fund:

  • Specialist women's services - these are the critical pillar of any response to domestic and family violence. They provide a unique, specialist understanding of the nature and dynamics of family and domestic violence; assessment and management of risk, and provide safe spaces for women and children who have experienced family violence to begin considering their options to recover from trauma and abuse.
  • Family Violence Prevention Legal Services (FVPLS) - these are a critical specialist service that provides holistic, culturally safe legal and non-legal assistance, casework, counseling and court support to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people affected by family violence.
  • Community Legal Services - For those trying to escape a violent abuser, access to free legal advice and assistance is critical. In order to escape her abuser, a woman will often need legal help to find out what her rights and options are under family law; how she'll be able to access shared funds or property; and untangle debts and loans that might have been put in her name by her abuser. Community Legal Centres provide critical support in all these areas.
  • Perpetrator intervention services - Working with men who use violent and controlling behaviour is critical to minimise and prevent family violence. Men’s specialist family violence practitioners engage violent men to work toward the safety and well being of their partner and children, and toward real, meaningful change.

We also need our federal government to: invest in prevention; build the capacity of the workforce to respond to and prevent violence; resource service providers with specialist expertise in the gendered nature and dynamics of domestic and family violence; develop a new National Plan to Prevention Violence Against Women and their Children after 2022; develop national strategies to ensure all people affected by domestic and family violence can access housing; and ensure specialist support for children and young people affected by domestic and family violence. We've asked the major parties about their commitments in these key areas.

The specific questions and scores on this issue have been developed by Fair Agenda in conjunction with Domestic Violence NSW, Domestic Violence Victoria, the National Association of Community Legal Centres, National Family Violence Prevention Legal Services Forum and No to Violence. You can find the exact questions asked on the 'survey questions' tab.


More on Taskforce on campus sexual violence (click to view)

Everyone deserves to learn in a safe environment. But right now, hundreds of university students are being sexually assaulted every week. And reports show that too many universities and residences are failing to adequately prevent or appropriately respond to this violence.

Since February 2018 Fair Agenda, End Rape on Campus Australia, National Union of Students and The Hunting Ground Australia Project have been jointly campaigning for an independent, expert-led Taskforce with powers to investigate and hold universities and residences to account on sexual violence. It's time institutions that fail to act for student safety are held accountable.

For too long problems with sexual violence in our universities have only been uncovered when affected students come forward to the media about horrifying and traumatic experiences; often at great personal cost. We can’t keep doing this to students. It’s time for an independent expert-led body that is resourced to track and actively assess what universities and residences are doing to address and prevent sexual violence.


More on action to address workplace sexual harassment (click to view)

Everyone deserves to feel safe and respected at work. But in the past five years 39% of women were affected by sexual harassment when they were just trying to do their job.

The solutions have been laid out: an alliance of more than 100 organisations from across the country has just backed the five key reforms they say are needed to address the scourge of sexual harassment in the 'Power to Prevent' joint statement.

Health professionals, lawyers, community groups, unions and peak bodies, have come together to launch call for these five reforms:

  1. Dedicated prevention efforts to address the underlying gendered drivers of sexual harassment, which should be part of a holistic strategy to prevent violence against women and promote gender equality in line with Change the story: A shared framework for the primary prevention of violence against women and their children in Australia.
  2. Stronger and clearer legal duties on employers to take proactive steps to prevent sexual harassment at work, and strong and effective regulators that have the full suite of regulatory tools and resources necessary to effectively tackle sexual harassment, including as a cultural, a systemic and a health and safety issue.
  3. Access to fair, effective and efficient complaints processes, including a new right of action under the Fair Work Act, extended time limits, increased transparency of conciliation outcomes where appropriate, and other amendments and resources necessary to address the unique barriers that currently prevent workers who experience sexual harassment from taking effective legal action.
  4. Appropriate advocacy and support for workers who experience sexual harassment, including access to information, counselling and legal services that are appropriately resourced and coordinated.
  5. Accessible reporting tools, including piloting an online reporting tool that assists people to report and address problem behaviours and seek support, and identifies trends to assist with prevention and enforcement efforts.


More on ParentsNext (click to view)

Caring for a baby or young child is exhausting. It’s a time parents need support; not threats to cut off the money they need to feed their baby, or pay the bills. Yet, this is the reality for more than 75,000 parents who have been moved onto the Federal Government’s punitive ParentsNext program.

Under the program, parents are being forced to adhere to demeaning conditions, or they risk having their support payments cut off.

One mother was told she should have had her daughter skip kindergarten, so that she could meet her ParentsNext requirement of attending ‘story time session’ at the local library.

Mums say it’s humiliating, and that they’re now in financial insecurity on a fortnight-to-fortnight basis. So far, one in five participants have already had their payments temporarily suspended. And the impacts are hurting single mums and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in particular.

The Australian Human Rights Commission and the Human Rights Law Centre have slammed the ParentsNext program as inconsistent with Australia’s human rights obligations, saying it unjustifiably discriminates against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and women.

Fair Agenda members are urging for our federal representatives to:

  • Abandon the discriminatory ParentsNext program and redirect the funding into voluntary, evidence-based programs that support parents and do not threaten their parenting payments,
  • Work in genuine partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations to create Aboriginal-led programs that support families and promote self-determination, and
  • Develop an approach to social security that recognises the value of parenting, while breaking down the discriminatory barriers that lock so many women out of decent, secure and well-paid work. 
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Authorised by Renee Carr, Fair Agenda, Level 2, 673 Bourke Street, Melbourne VIC 3000