Grace Tame and Brittany Higgins have delivered a powerful National Press Club address this week, largely criticising the government’s failure to protect women and girls from sexual violence. Their statements came the day after members of Australian Federal Parliament, including the Prime Minister, made formal acknowledgements and apologies for the ‘unacceptable history of bullying, sexual harassment and sexual assault’ within Commonwealth parliamentary workplaces. This formal apology and acknowledgement fulfils the first recommendation in Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins’ review of parliamentary workplace culture – ‘Set the Standard’ – sparked by Higgins’ allegations of rape by a former Liberal staffer.
In the joint address, Higgins spoke for the need for systemic change to reduce all forms of violence against women and girls, and called for politicians to ‘use their power’ to enact these necessary changes. Tame’s portion of the address outlined ‘three key asks to better our nation’ with regards to sexual abuse and violence against women, these are:
1. a government that takes violence against women in all its forms seriously,
2. adequate funding to implement prevention programs and stop violence before it occurs,
3. national, consistent, legislative changes to outdated laws which work to protect perpetrators
Embolden’s Policy and Communications Manager, Jennifer Kingwell, appeared on ABC’s Afternoons with Sonya Feldhoff following the NPC address to discuss these important conversations and events – listen to the segment from 30:45, and Jennifer’s interview begins at 35:35.