NSW not doing enough for women’s refuges

Police stations and even McDonald’s restaurants have become the de facto refuges of choice for a growing number of women in crisis, domestic violence workers say.

Gone are the days when government at least strove to provide adequate funding for specialist services to meet the needs of abused mothers and children, according to DV Safety NSW.

As it promotes Domestic Violence Awareness Week, the group points to the fact that more than three-quarters of dedicated women’s refuges in NSW have been turned into general homelessness services since government reforms in 2014.

Domestic Violence Awareness Week runs from September 23-30.


Aboriginal woman jailed for unpaid fines after call to police

An Indigenous woman in Perth has been jailed for 14 days for unpaid fines, 10 months after a coronial inquiry recommended the Western Australian government abolish the practice.

The 35-year-old Noongar woman was arrested on a warrant of commitment at the home she shares with her five children in Joondalup on Wednesday morning, after a call was made to police about a family member who had visited the house earlier and who was reported to have become violent.

When police arrived they performed a background check on the woman and found an outstanding warrant for $3,900 in unpaid fines, dating back to a dispute over an unregistered dog in 2012.

She was taken to Melaleuca women’s prison and told that unless she could pay the outstanding fine she would have to cut it out at a rate of $250 a day. The electricity at her house, where her children remain under the care of an aunt, has since been cut off.


‘Hugh Hefner exploited women personally and professionally’

Hugh Hefner died today.

Expect a lot of stories about how he was a maverick in publishing, an icon and lists of his achievements.

But most will ignore the negative side of his empire and his life.

Why do we do that when someone dies? If you asked me yesterday what I thought of him I would have simply said I thought he was a sexist misogynist who profited by exploiting women professionally and personally. Today I just make that statement past tense. Why should I have a different opinion today?


Explainer: is abortion legal in Australia?

Abortion is a safe medical procedure, yet half of Australian women may have difficulty accessing a termination because they live in states and territories that designate it a crime.

From the 19th century onward, abortion was regarded as a crime in Australia. Abortion law was included in criminal legislation and was based on the 1861 English Offences Against the Person Act.

Since then, some states and territories have reformed or decriminalised abortion, while others continue to restrict women’s access to abortion in a way entirely inappropriate for the 21st century.

ed: This article provides an excellent summary of the law in the various Australian states and territories.


Cristiano Ronaldo: A Woman is not a Factory

When Cristiano Ronaldo confirmed through his Instagram account that he had been the father of twins, he received more than 8 million “likes,” and 290,300 articles were published on the subject worldwide, 71,000 of them containing the phrase “very happy.” There was only one thing that did not appear anywhere: the mother’s name. Who? How was your pregnancy and how do you feel after birth? How many times a day do you think about your children you will never see again? Ronaldo does not mention it, and the only thing that is known about her is that she is American and that she received €200,000 for the babies.

The media perspective is generally that of the buyers—their feelings, their desires (often called “needs”) abound. Mothers remain anonymous, as if they were workers in a baby factory.

No one seems to raise their voice to say the obvious: this is a blatant crime against the rights of women and children. According to Article 7 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, each child has the right to his or her parents. Surrogate motherhood, whether paid or altruistic, violates this fundamental right. In surrogacy, children lose their mothers, and mothers lose their children. It is not to add, it is to remove. And, as this is an industry (do not be fooled by the romantic poems of generous women who do it for free—altruistic surrogacy does not account for even 2% of cases) the reasons are economic. Let me be perfectly clear: surrogacy is the sale of babies. The rich buy, the poor sell. There is nothing progressive or postmodern about this practice: it is the same old exploitation of women and the poor.


‘Saudi Arabia will never be the same again’: Ban lifted on women driving cars

In an age when the President of the United States is making headlines for “rating” famous women on their hotness, it can often feel like global progress is at a standstill. In fact, it can feel like progress is declining at a demoralisingly rapid rate.

That’s why this morning’s news from Saudi Arabia comes at such a critical time. The middle eastern kingdom, well known for its controversial government and policy framework, has opted to lift an archaic ban on women being able to drive.

Up until this point, women in Saudi Arabia caught driving, could legally be arrested, fined and in some cases, imprisoned. One woman in 2011, Shaima Jastaina, was even subjected to 10 lashes as punishment for defying the law.


Trans group ATH ‘condones punching feminists’

A transgender campaign group that gave evidence to an influential parliamentary committee has publicly supported violence against women.

Members of Action for Trans Health (ATH) have issued a series of incendiary statements on social media since its supporters were involved in an attack on a 60-year-old woman in London’s Hyde Park on September 13.

The Hyde Park violence has triggered the setting up of a new feminist group, Woman’s Place UK, whose co-founder Kiri Tunks said she was “horrified” by the incident.

“We need to be able to discuss this in a respectful way. Women need reserved places and separate spaces. Women’s voices must be heard.”

The trans extremists, however, appear unlikely to listen. After the attack ATH’s Edinburgh branch sent out a series of tweets defending the use of violence: “punching terfs is the same as punching Nazis. Fascism must be smashed with the greatest violence to ensure our collective liberation from it”, and “violence against terfs is always self defense”.


Champion fell-runner Lauren Jeska admits attempted murder

A champion fell-runner has been sentenced to 18 years in jail for the attempted murder of a UK Athletics official at a stadium in Birmingham.

Lauren Jeska, 42, from Machynlleth in Powys, pleaded guilty to trying to kill Ralph Knibbs, who is head of human resources and welfare at the sport’s British governing body as well as a former professional rugby player.

In what was described as a “cold, calculated attack”, the transgender athlete stabbed Knibbs multiple times in the head and neck after a dispute over whether she should be able to compete in women’s races.

Jeska was the women’s 2010, 2011 and 2012 English fell-running champion, and won the British Championship in 2012. However, Richard Atkins QC told the court the runner had “not provided the relevant samples to her testosterone levels and other relevant documentation” to the governing body and, as a result, had had her racing results declared void in September 2015.


‘This is F*cked’: MP caught on mic yet another Liberal gaffe undermining female vote

First we had Tony Abbot swing by Newtown’s Young Liberals meeting and post a photo of himself enjoying an “invigorating Q&A” session in a sea of, you guessed it, young, white Liberal men.

Then we had Queensland LNP MP Luke Howarth join the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at a press conference in Brisbane. When Mr. Howarth was asked by a Sky Reporter about the lack of female representation in the LNP he was heard to say, “this is f—ed”.

Then came the cherry on this gaffe sundae. Mr. Howarth’s colleague Liberal backbencher Craig Kelly took to the Sky airwaves to help. “Obviously, you would like to have a greater mix across society represented in Parliament, the reality is federal Parliament is a very female unfriendly place,” he said.

“We have done a lot of things, we have seen some of the members breastfeeding actually in the chamber, which I thought was a bit over the top,” he added.


Melbourne woman complains to UN, saying parenting cuts are human rights abuse

A Melbourne single mother has lodged a complaint with the United Nations, labelling changes to Australia’s parenting payment scheme discrimination and a human rights abuse.

Mother-of-three Juanita McLaren and the National Council of Single Mothers and their Children have lodged a complaint, officially known as a communication, with the UN over cuts and changes to the parenting payment.

The complaint asks the UN to determine whether Australia has violated its international human rights obligations. Supporters hope the complaint will hold the government accountable for its cuts.

Terese Edwards, the chief executive of the single mothers lobby group, said the move “condemned women who head up a single-parent family to a life of hardship as they contend with housing stress, deprivation, skip meals and forgo medical treatment”.

“Denying access to a parenting payment when a single parent’s youngest child turns eight years old is a violation of human rights, as defined by the core United Nations treaties including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women,” she said.