Up till now, the government has failed to deliver meaningful reform for women. If the government is truly “listening to women” as the Prime Minister recently promised, we’ll see some big reforms coming out of our federal budget handed down next week.
Additional and more inclusive paid parental leave
Domestic violence funding
Wage increases to those working in care sectors
In 2018, the federal government promised to improve the visibility of superannuation assets during family court proceedings by setting up a new “electronic” system. But more than two years later, advocates are concerned the “urgent” changes have not been implemented. A spokesperson for the Superannuation Minister Jane Hume said the government would begin consulting on the legislation soon
Free child care must be a cornerstone of the Budget spending spree if the Morrison government is serious about getting unemployment down, unions say.
Child-care funding has emerged as a focal point amid reports the Morrison government is considering a new multi-billion-dollar funding plan that could see subsidy rates increased from 85 to 95 per cent.
The ACTU, meanwhile, is calling for a free universal early childhood and education scheme. In other words, unions want the government to make child care effectively free for Australian families, or extremely low cost.
Data from the NHS Business Services Authority, which deals with prescription services in England, shows a large disparity in the number of women being given these drugs compared with men, with 761,641 women receiving painkiller prescriptions compared with 443,414 men, or 1.7 times, and the pattern is similar across broad age categories.
The women who reached out said they felt that they were often “fobbed off” with painkillers when their problems required medical investigation.
Socialists should not support the decriminalisation of prostitution – an institution of oppression that has been used for centuries to ensure the subordination of women and the division of the working class, writes ANNA FISHER.
The Nordic Model approach decriminalises those who are prostituted and provides them with support, genuine alternatives and routes out.
It also cracks down on pimps and traffickers, and makes buying sex a criminal offence — with the key aim of changing men’s attitudes.
This approach is founded in the socialist feminist understanding of prostitution as an institution of oppression that has been used for centuries by the capitalist system to co-opt men, and to ensure the subordination of women and the division of the working class.
More recently women have become the locus of wealth extraction as the global capitalists have turned to mining women and girls’ bodies for the primitive accumulation of capital through the industrialisation of prostitution, porn, egg harvesting and surrogacy.
We need to reduce the size of the prostitution system, while providing those caught up in it with a viable transition out.
This is exactly what the Nordic Model aims to do — and can do when implemented properly and with solid support from the working class.
An Aboriginal teenage girl has lost an appeal after she requested her criminal trial be heard by a female magistrate for cultural reasons, saying she wouldn’t defend the charges if footage of her being strip-searched had to be seen by men.
The girl, then 15, was strip searched at Wagga Wagga Police Station in March 2019 after she was arrested on suspicion of stealing a car.
Police say she kicked the female officers searching her and smashed some of their body cameras. She was charged with assaulting police officers executing their duty and destroying property.
The girl’s defence team wants to argue that the strip search was illegal.
Footage of the search showed her fully exposed backside and chest.
A field officer with the Aboriginal Legal Service gave evidence that in Aboriginal cultures showing a woman’s sensitive parts was women’s business.
The Children’s Court magistrate rejected her application.
But the NSW Court of Appeal ruled last month that the Children’s Court could actually order a case like the girl’s to be heard by a woman.
Ordering a case to be heard by a woman is not the same as ordering a case to be heard by a specific judge, the court said. Some 47 per cent of magistrates in NSW are women.
The court rejected the girl’s appeal because the legal error hadn’t affected the magistrate’s decision.
The girl was initially refused bail and held in jail for more than six months after the strip search. She has since been granted bail.
Inconsistent tenancy laws across Australia are making it difficult for women and children experiencing domestic violence to leave and find new housing, new research shows.
Currently, only New South Wales and Western Australia have processes in place that allow family and domestic violence victims and survivors to break a tenancy at short notice without involving the police or court system.
Across other states and territories, though, if a domestic violence survivor flees their home, they can be blacklisted and put on a database of bad tenants, which cuts off their ability to find a new rental.
An estimated 41 per cent of people accessing homelessness services are victims of family domestic violence.
Professor Webb said other states must follow suit – but she highlighted that ending a lease was just the beginning for many victim-survivors.
“It is almost like a cruel hoax,” she said.
“Yes, then they can get out of the immediate violence, but there’s nothing there for them. Refuges are oversubscribed and it is difficult to get affordable housing.
Her caseload includes survivors of abuse who acted in self-defense or in defense of their children, as well as women forced or coerced to assist their abuser in committing a crime. Sometimes they are women diagnosed with postpartum depression.
White-Domain recently earned release for a woman sentenced to six years in prison for stealing items worth less than $300, arguing that the punishment was too severe when balanced against the harm of family separation.
Since getting funding last year the Women and Survivors Project has represented 30 clients in 15 clemency petitions, 14 administrative advocacy cases, four resentencing cases, one post-conviction case, and one appeal.So far, five women have been released. Collectively that has added up to about 30 years of incarceration saved, White-Domain said.
The Women and Survivors Project, believed to be a rare full-time practice dedicated these specific kinds of post-conviction cases, was built on the work of a small number of Chicago attorneys who three decades ago began working on such complicated cases pro bono, mentoring and training a younger generation along the way.
Their work, Byrne said, grew out of research on domestic violence and also from firsthand observations. Byrne watched how the criminal system failed to see self-defense from a female perspective, such as the effect ongoing battering has on a person’s state of mind and perception of danger.
In 2020, the Albert & Anne Mansfield Foundation awarded White-Domain a grant to continue at the Illinois Prison Project, the statewide advocacy organization where she currently works. The Women and Survivors Project remains small — she is the only full-time attorney — but the grant could provide leverage to secure more funding.