Tough ask: the women given the job of saving the Morrison government
Late at night in a Parliament House committee room, just hours after reports aired showing photos and videos of sex acts in the nearby offices, Marise Payne was asked if it was an impossible job being the Minister for Women in the Morrison government.
No, the cabinet minister replied curtly.
Hayley Foster, chief executive of Women’s Safety NSW, the peak body for specialist domestic and family violence services in the state, says it was problematic that again responsibility for addressing “women’s issues” seemed to have been thrust upon only women. But conversely, she was hopeful they would be able to bring their own life experiences and understanding of the problems to the table.
“We can’t have people who don’t truly understand those issues heading up and leading in addressing those issues,” she says.
For Foster, the elevation of women’s issues to cabinet level is positive but what happens in May’s budget will be the true test.
“For far too long, the issues affecting Australians, female Australians have been sidelined and put in the subsidiary or the ancillary bucket – and often the bucket of ‘this is too hard and too expensive’ and we don’t want to deal with it,” she says.
“Once we see what is prioritised in the budget, and if we do start seeing a genuine commitment of action following up the words, then we will at that point be able to say that the government has heard us loud and clear and is starting to prioritise the issues that are facing Australian women.”
Foster has already met with Payne, Stoker and departmental representatives about ways to increase conviction rates for sexual assault and drive down the levels of harassment, and found them receptive.
The taskforce also has a couple of blueprints to guide its work.
To read the full article by Katina Curtis for the SMH click HERE.