On Monday, March 15th, thousands of people are planning to #March4Justice at a series of rallies being held around the country, demanding justice for women in the wake of the federal government’s “appalling and woeful” response to recent allegations of sexual abuse in parliament.
Sparked by the handling of the alleged rape of former Liberal party staffer Brittany Higgins inside parliament house, and the historical rape allegation levelled at Attorney-General Christian Porter, the #March4Justice is demanding better treatment of women in parliament, and all places.
The idea for the march was put forward by Melbourne academic and educator, Janine Hendry, who sent out a Tweet pondering how many women it would take to form a circle around Parliament House, standing in protest against the treatment of women in Australia.
The response to her tweet was overwhelming, and quite quickly, nationwide rallies were being organised, to be held not just at parliament house in Canberra, but in each capital city, and in regional and rural communities. To date, there are 40 locations across the country including towns like Toowoomba, Bunbury, Wollongong, Ballarat and Cairns.
A petition has been circling online and at the time of writing, a Go Fund Me page has raised over $64,000 to help with the costs of organisation. The petition, addressed to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, will be presented to parliament on the 15th.
“Historic change is in the air. Women who have never marched before are joining us in action,” Hendry said in a statement on Friday.
“Women who have been their whole lives are still here. There are people from every political party and no political party. The elderly are sending messages of support from home and the young are organising school events.”
Join me on Match 15 in your capital city or one of the 30 events around the country. I am marching for justice to create real structural change to endure the equity that is needed to end the sexual assault and sexual abuse of women in this country #March4Justice #EnoughisEnough pic.twitter.com/yBA5TwxQJK— 💧Janine Hendry (@janine_hendry) March 11, 2021
As Georgie Dent wrote in Women’s Agenda earlier this week, the #March4Justice is about equity for all women, because every woman has a right to be safe in every single space she inhabits.
“The #March4Justice is for every person who sees the price women – individually and collectively – have paid – and continue to pay – for men’s violence and harassment and abuse of power over generations and has had enough. Who is willing to rally against the sheer injustice of it,” she wrote.
According to the #March4Justice official organisers, there are four immediate actions being demanded.
- Full independent investigations into all cases of gendered violence and timely referrals to appropriate authorities. Full public accountability for findings.
- Fully implement the 55 recommendations in the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Respect@Work report of the National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces 2020.
- Lift public funding for gendered violence prevention to world’s best practice.
- The enactment of a federal Gender Equality Act to promote gender equality. It should include a gender equity audit of Parliamentary practices.
TV presenter Julia Zemiro is set to MC the Canberra protest on Monday, starting at 12 noon, and a Welcome to Country will be given by Aunty Violet Sheridan. Speakers include Dr Tjanara Goreng Goreng, Saxon Mullins, Madhumitha Janagaraja, Sally McManus, Michele O’Neil, Animata Conteh-Biger, Biff Ward, Virginia Hausegger, Avan Daruwalla, and Maddie Chia.
Those attending marches are asked to wear black, bring a face mask, along with posters and banners. #EnoughIsEnough and #March4Justice are the hashtags you can use to spread the word on social media.
Rallies will be held at 40 locations nationwide, with a range of excellent speakers at each. More details, including the date and time of each event, can be found on the official #March4Justice website here.