Vida Goldstein was one of the first women in the western world to stand for parliament. Her fight still resonates today

Vida Goldstein, born in the Victorian city of Portland in 1869, was the first woman in the western world to nominate for a national parliament.

When Australian women were granted the right to vote by an act of parliament in 1902, the rest of the world recognised this new country as extraordinarily progressive. Women all over the world envied their Australian sisters – Vida was even invited to the US as a representative of “Australia, where women vote”.

Her last campaigns took place during the first world war; she vehemently opposed the then prime minister Billy Hughes’s two attempts to introduce conscription for overseas service. Defying not only the government but a large part of the population, she led public meetings – returned soldiers set fire to her platforms several times – and took steps to see that women and children did not starve while men were away fighting. When conscription was twice defeated, she felt vindicated.

Vida Goldstein was a woman of great ability, courage, intellectual force and determination: surely an asset to any parliament. Had she lived in the US or the UK, where she was lauded and admired, I believe she would certainly have been a member of the national legislature. Both countries had women in parliament or congress within five years of them gaining the vote; in Australia though, it took 40 years after women won the vote to see them take a seat in parliament.

Source: Vida Goldstein was one of the first women in the western world to stand for parliament. Her fight still resonates today | Books | The Guardian

Scores of WA sex assault victims will never be heard after lost emails were deleted, WA Police confirms

At least two years of emails sent to an email address set up for victims of sexual assault to reach Western Australian police have been permanently deleted, the force has confirmed.

Dr Rachael Burgin, chairperson of Rape and Sexual Assault Research and Advocacy, an outfit that has previous called for an independent inquiry into the ordeal, said confirmation that the emails had all been lost was “an appalling breach of public trust and safety”.

“It’s unacceptable that the moment they discovered the error they did not immediately alert the public in order to salvage reports from affected survivors,” Dr Burgin said.

“The police only ever publicly admitted fault after media exposure. That long delay in alerting the public means that evidence will have deteriorated. People’s memories also deteriorate and this could jeopardise future trials.”

Source: Scores of WA sex assault victims will never be heard after lost emails were deleted, WA Police confirms

Court approves treatment for transgender teen amid parental dispute

Hormone treatment with oestrogen or testosterone is the second step in a three-stage medical transition process for transgender adolescents, and follows an initial round of puberty blockers. Surgical interventions may follow at stage three.

The law has evolved rapidly in Australia. Prior to 2013, it was not possible for a parent or child to give valid consent to any of the three stages and court approval was mandatory.

The Full Court of the Family Court ruled in 2013 that court approval was no longer required for stage one treatment, but the court had a role in disputes.

In 2017, the Full Court went further and ruled court authorisation was not required for stage two treatment but it was not clear what role the court performed in the case of disputes.

Justice Watts said court approval for stage two treatment is mandatory only if a parent or doctor disputes the child’s legal competency to consent; the diagnosis of gender dysphoria; or the proposed treatment.

The ICLC said “the court’s judgment confirms that the existing law is that a medical practitioner seeing a young person under the age of 18 cannot initiate stage one, two or three treatment without establishing parental consent”, and court authorisation is required if there is a dispute.

Source: Court approves treatment for transgender teen amid parental dispute

Victoria’s COVID-19 roadmap favours men as women bear brunt of job restrictions, analysis shows

Women have borne the brunt of COVID-19 job losses and female-dominated industries face tighter restrictions at every stage of the coronavirus measures easing, according to new analysis.

Source: Victoria’s COVID-19 roadmap favours men as women bear brunt of job restrictions, analysis shows – ABC News

‘Distress and fear’: poverty looms for a million Australian children once coronavirus supplement slashed

Terese Edwards, the chief executive of the National Council of Single Mothers and Their Children, said the $550-a-fortnight supplement had been “life-altering” and its reduction was causing “distress and fear”.

She pointed to a survey of 600 single mothers conducted by the organisation that found the income boost had reduced stress for 88% of respondents because they could now afford to pay their bills.

Toni Wren, the executive director of Anti-Poverty Week, said government data showed about 1.1 million children lived in families receiving the supplement in July.

That included 500,000 children whose parents were receiving the jobseeker payment.

“Our main concern is that now it is one-in-five Australian children whose parents are receiving that payment,” Wren said.

Source: ‘Distress and fear’: poverty looms for a million Australian children once coronavirus supplement slashed | Australia news | The Guardian

Canberra radio newsreader Beth Rep told to pay transgender activist Bridget Clinch $10,000 compensation for discrimination

A dispute over a Facebook post by radio newsreader Beth Rep was meant to end with an apology to transgender activist Bridget Clinch. Instead, the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal found the post and comments were “rude, offensive and unacceptable” and awarded Ms Clinch $10,000 in compensation.

Mediation led to Ms Rep posting an apology on her Facebook page in mid-2018 and paying Ms Clinch $700, but the post attracted 304 comments, many of which were offensive, and some of which were ‘liked’ by Ms Rep.

The tribunal heard Ms Rep, who works for 2CC, had described herself as a radical feminist who believed in resisting what she called aggressive trans activism.

She told the tribunal that while she was supportive of gender non-conformity, she was concerned about the impact of trans activism on women’s spaces, services and opportunities.

Ms Rep said the online exchange in March 2018 had become heated after a number of provocative and anti-feminist comments were posted.

Ms Rep also argued she did not deactivate the comments because it would be censorship, but Mr Meagher dismissed the argument.

Source: Canberra radio newsreader Beth Rep told to pay transgender activist Bridget Clinch $10,000 compensation for discrimination – ABC News

ACT’s conversion therapy ban puts practitioners at risk

The Sexuality and Gender Identity Conversion Practices Bill, introduced into the ACT Assembly a couple of weeks ago, has become embroiled in controversy. It arises out of lobbying by members of the LGBT community to ban “conversion therapy”, in the context of past practices seeking to change people’s sexual orientation. However, the main controversy about the bill concerns its prohibition of what it describes as “gender identity conversion practices”.

Penalties for engaging in a “conversion practice” are severe. Practitioners are liable to 12 months’ imprisonment; but so too are parents who take their children out of the ACT for the purpose of such a conversion practice being performed on a child.

The only forms of treatment specifically declared in the bill to be free from being labelled as a “conversion practice” are medical interventions supporting the application of puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and gender reassignment surgery, which are all designed to transition the gender of the child.

A cloud of suspicion must therefore hang over any therapeutic intervention that has the purpose or effect of helping a child or young person to become comfortable in their natal sex. Therapists, wanting to avoid any risk of prosecution for practising “conversion therapy” are likely to avoid offering any treatment at all that does not take a child’s presenting gender identity as a fixed and immutable trait. This is despite the very clear evidence from decades of research that children’s gender identity can be very fluid.

Parents ought also to be concerned. If expert practitioners have no idea what forms of therapy the ACT Assembly wants to criminalise, how can parents know? Yet if they take the child to Sydney, unable to find a practitioner to help their child in Canberra, they risk 12 months in jail.

Source: ACT’s conversion therapy ban puts practitioners at risk | The Canberra Times | Canberra, ACT

Psychiatrist makes urgent plea to NSW Government for domestic violence concussion policy

Dr Williams is urging the New South Wales Government to adopt a concussion protocol for family and domestic violence victims.

“I recently asked an emergency doctor about it and they said, ‘We don’t have specific protocol for those women, true, but we have to have one for sports people because they are very likely to go back out on to the field and are likely to be in a high-risk situation again’.

“I said, ‘Well, you are sending these women back home to their abusers aren’t you?’ and there was a pin-drop silence.”

Source: Psychiatrist makes urgent plea to NSW Government for domestic violence concussion policy – ABC News