Yesterday and today, tens of thousands of people marched for justice around the country to say enough is enough. Many politicians and public figures have joined the marches, including Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, Greens MPs Amy McMahon and Michael Berkman in Brisbane and Christian Porter's ex wife in Perth.
This is a vibrant liberal democracy. Not far from here, such marches, even now, are being met with bullets, but not here in this country, Mr Speaker. This is a triumph of democracy when we see these things take place.
Scott Morrison, Prime Minister
Scott Morrison's words not only implied that protestors are lucky they didn't get shot, but we also felt his words were chosen to distance himself from the protests, as if it wasn't his 'place' nor 'job' to take part or have anything to do with the movement. What the PM fails to understand is that the marches are, at least in part, calling on him. As the leader of our nation and one of the powerful people in the country, we're talking to him. As the leader of a party that has been shown to have terrible culture when it comes to women's right, we're talking to him. As the man who stood up one day to state that Christian Porter can't be labelled guilty, then just days later said, with no trepidation, he was innocent, we're talking to him.
#March4Justice organiser Janine Hendry has publicly declined a 'closed door meeting' with the Prime Minister, saying that she doesn't represent all the women who have marched over the past few days, and that it's important that the PM listen to those women. She told the ABC that she is "not sure me having a closed-door meeting with the Prime Minister is going to resolve that issue."
A number of people have come out to publicly push back on Ms Hendry's stance, urging her to take up the offer of a meeting, saying that the "Prime Minister is a busy man," and that she is lucky to have been given the chance to speak with him. This line of conversation further illustrates the reason we are marching this week. Why can women only be listened to if it's on a man's terms?
If the Prime Minister was truly and honestly open to hearing from Janine Hendry, he could have gone outside to meet the organisers of the Canberra march, along with other Representatives who did so. He's had ample time over the past months to show he's an ally and willing to listen to women. But he's done neither of those things.
Among the speakers at various march events, which took place all over the country, were Brittany Higgins and Grace Tame, two young women who have been absolutely pivotal in the movement we're seeing in Australia right now. It will be a joint effort between organisers, advocates, survivors, politicians, and the public that we hope will create real, substantial, and lasting change in our society.
Labor ministers, including the Labor leader Anthony Albanese, have spoken out today, met with organisers, and joined the protests. With strong Labor governments in Queensland, Victoria, Northern Territory, ACT, and Western Australia (where there are not only 2 Liberals in the lower house), and Labor, Greens, and many cross-benchers uniting to demand better from the Liberal Party, we're left wondering what this could mean for the upcoming federal election.
Deputy Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek and Co-Deputy Greens Leader Larissa Waters jointly received a petition signed by over 90 000 people, which was tabled in the senate today.
Women across the country are today saying "this is just the beginning." It's our hope that they are correct, and we're at the start line of a revolution. Time is up, and enough is absolutely enough. While the path is long, and littered with huge roadblocks, today we are hopeful. Hopeful that we are listened to and hopeful that we can create significant and lasting change in our government, in our society, and in our nation.