Two people want to share the job of MP for Higgins. Is it constitutional?

Can the job of being a federal member of parliament be shared by two or more persons? Two prospective candidates for the inner-Melbourne federal seat of Higgins, Lucy Bradlow and Bronwen Bock, have announced that they will run as job-sharing independent candidates. They say they will “work week-on, week off, with a handover at the end of each week”. Is this legally and constitutionally valid?

Bradlow and Bock claim “there are no legal barriers to the inclusion of two candidates in either the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act or the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918”. They argue the Constitution permits parliament to change the number of members of parliament, and does not specify a particular number of members per seat.

They conclude that “the only possible barrier to two people running to represent the same electorate is that previous candidate nomination forms for the House of Representatives […] only allowed space for the entry of the name of one candidate” and the form should be “updated” to allow two or more names to be entered as “the candidate”.

In 2015 in the United Kingdom, two Green party candidates sought to job-share. They took legal proceedings against the electoral officer who rejected their nomination. They argued references in statutes to a “candidate” and “member” in the singular should be interpreted as including the plural, and the law had to be interpreted in a manner consistent with the European Convention of Human Rights.

The High Court of England and Wales rejected their argument. Justice Wilkie pointed out that job-sharing by members of parliament would give rise to many difficult practical and conceptual problems, and these were not something a court was equipped to deal with or should determine through statutory interpretation. It was a matter for parliament to resolve, not the courts.

The same point should be made here in Australia. If job-sharing for members of parliament is desired, then at the very least this should be the subject of proper consideration and legislation by parliament to make the system workable.

[Ed: If there is a will, there is a way]

Source: Two people want to share the job of MP for Higgins. Is it constitutional?

Hannah Waddingham hits back at sexist remark

The internet has actor Hannah Waddingham’s back after she took snappy aim at a photographer who made a sexist suggestion to her on the red carpet.

[W]hile she was posing for photos ahead of the ceremony, one brazen photographer, reportedly a male, yelled out for Waddingham to “show a little leg”.

In a video of the interaction, the request can’t be heard, but Waddingham’s response is loud and clear.

“Oh my God, you’d never say that to a man, my friend,” she said, rather gently.

“Don’t be a dick, otherwise I’ll move off. Don’t say ‘show a little leg’. No.”

Waddingham did actually move on, as bystanders cheered.

“Have some manners,” she tossed back as she left.

Source: Hannah Waddingham hits back at sexist remark

Attorney Calls Out Judge for “Boys Club” Ruling: Now She’s Facing Suspension | Women’s Coalition

An attorney representing a mother in a Family Court case has the audacity to call the judge out for his “boys’ club” ruling switching custody to the abusive father.

Now the Old Boys are coming after her.

Charlotte Proudman is facing suspension of her license to practice law and, meanwhile, the Boys have been trolling her despicably on social media with misogynistic slurs.

The funny part? The judge is actually a member of a literal Boys Only club! And this club happens to boast as members most of the male judges and powerful Old Boys in the UK.

Charlotte is perhaps the most well-known attorney in the UK for representing mothers in custody cases. Seeing up front and center how mothers are systematically discriminated against and oppressed has caused her to be a long-time critic of the Family Court system.

The last straw for the Old Boys with Charlotte (or perhaps the opportunity they were waiting for?) was when she had the temerity to post a 14-tweet thread about a case she had just lost. In it she referred to Judge Jonathan Cohen’s ruling, which gave the abusive father custody, as having “echoes of the boys’ club”.

I lost the case. I do not accept the judge’s reasoning. This judgment has echoes of the “boys’ club” which still exists among men in powerful positions.

Soon after she tweeted this thread, the Bar, also infested with Old Boys, initiated disciplinary proceedings with 5 charges against her.

Not surprisingly, another Old Boy was assigned to hear Charlotte’s disciplinary proceeding: Judge Philip Havers. Amusingly, he is a member of the same, literal Old Boys club! Charlotte requested his recusal and he recently agreed, perhaps because of the publicity her case is getting.

Charlotte was verbally abused in tweets posted by a ton of lawyers. They’ve branded her a cunt, whore, narcissist, dreadful, and an idiot. Charlotte has reported more than 50 lawyers for this abuse and asked the Bar to take action. She says this onslaught has seriously affected her well-being. She is now fearful and has to work with colleagues who’ve been allowed to verbally attack her.

But the Bar minimized the Boys’ attacks on her as just “unpleasant and inflammatory”. They refuse to take action because the messages supposedly do not meet the threshold for regulatory action.

There is a long history of Old Boys retaliating against attorneys who represent mothers well.

Source: (18) Attorney Calls Out Judge for “Boys Club” Ruling: Now She’s Facing Suspension

Victorian public sector to get paid reproductive and period leave

Public sector workers in Victoria will soon get access to 5 days of reproductive leave, designed for women dealing with period pain, menopause, perimenopause and IVF treatment.

The entitlement comes as part of a new, four-year pay deal for public servants which includes an annual pay rise of 3 per cent and a one-off $5600 cost of living payment for full-time workers.

The deal also ensures superannuation payments will be made on primary caregiver parental leave up to 104 weeks, up from 52 weeks. Meanwhile, shift workers on parental leave will receive shift penalties they would have received had they not been on leave.

Shift workers will also be awarded a one-off $1000 payment.

Earlier this year, the Victorian government launched an inquiry into women’s pain following a survey that showed close to half of women in the state are affected by issues relating to their periods, pregnancy, birth and postnatal care, as well as conditions like endometriosis.

One in three women said their health conditions affect their ability to work and keep a job.

At the time, Allan said it was time we stopped treating women’s health like some kind of “niche issue”.

“We deserve to have our pain believed and relieved,” she said.

Source: Victorian public sector to get paid reproductive and period leave

NZ gymnasts can now wear shorts over their leotards – why is this a big deal for female athletes?

Recent changes in New Zealand sporting dress codes have led to a collective sigh of relief in women’s gymnastics. No longer will competitive gymnasts be penalised for accidentally revealing their underwear while performing.

Indeed, Gymnastics New Zealand (GNZ) has finally modernised its uniform rules, allowing girls and women to wear shorts or leggings over their leotards – just like their male counterparts.

This timely rule change builds on the past few years of global advocacy in which some sportswomen have voiced concerns about how their outfits impede their movements and their confidence.

In 2021, there were also dress code protests by female performers at the European Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Switzerland. German gymnasts donned full-body suits, in response to the ongoing objectification and sexualisation of women in sport.

It was no coincidence that the German gymnasts’ decision to cover up followed one of the biggest sexual abuse scandals in sports history – in the United States, 156 women gave testimonies at the 2018 sentence hearing for the former USA Gymnastics team doctor, Larry Nassar, who was jailed for up to 175 years.

Other gymnasts were prompted to speak out across the world.

In the United Kingdom, multiple elite British gymnasts exposed the emotional and physical trauma they endured at the hands of their coaches. More than 400 submissions by traumatised UK gymnasts were subsequently documented in the 2022 Whyte Review, exposing widespread physical, emotional and sexual abuse by coaches.

In New Zealand, former Blenheim Gymnastics Club coach Gregory Pask pleaded guilty in March 2024 to more than 60 sexual offence charges against girls under his tutelage.

Recent research involving more than 3,000 girls across eight countries confirmed sports uniforms are an important influence on girls’ engagement in physical activity. If girls experience flexible uniform policies, it is possible to keep them active for longer.

Source: NZ gymnasts can now wear shorts over their leotards – why is this a big deal for female athletes?

MONA ordered to allow men into ‘Ladies Lounge’ after discrimination complaint – Pulse Tasmania

MONA has been ordered to allow men into their ‘Ladies Lounge’ exhibit after a man complained about being excluded from the women’s-only space.

New South Wales resident Jason Lau lodged a discrimination complaint against the popular Tasmanian museum, which was upheld by the Tasmanian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

The tribunal has given the museum 28 days to “cease refusing entry to the exhibit known as the Ladies Lounge at the Museum of Old and New Art by persons who do not identify as ladies”.

Tribunal Deputy President Richard Grueber said in his published decision that the case “involves conflict between an artwork which deliberately and overtly discriminates for artistic purpose and legislation which has the objective of prohibiting discrimination”.

He said Lau visited MONA in April of last year, paid the $35 entry fee and entered the museum – but was “not permitted entry into the Ladies Lounge was because of his gender”.

Grueber, in his comments, also criticised Kaechele and her 20+ female supporters for their conduct at the hearing, saying the way they left the tribunal building while dressed in blue power suits and dancing to Robert Palmer’s Simply Irresistible was “inappropriate, discourteous and disrespectful and at worst contumelious and contemptuous”.

MONA stated last month in a statement that their lawyers were prepared to fight and take the matter to the Supreme Court if necessary.

Source: MONA ordered to allow men. into ‘Ladies Lounge’ after discrimination complaint – Pulse Tasmania

Gender inequality ‘shrinks women’s brains’

Gender inequality may shrink women’s brains, new research suggests.

A global study by Oxford University which looked at brain scans of more than 7,800 people found significant brain thinning in women living in countries with fewer female rights and male-dominated cultural norms.

In countries where there was greater gender inequality, such as India, Turkey and Brazil, the thickness in the grey matter of the right hemisphere of women’s brains was between three to five per cent thinner than men’s.

However, in Scandinavian countries such as Sweden and Finland, there was no significant difference between the sexes, with women showing greater volume than men in some areas.

Even in Britain, researchers found around 0.5 per cent thinning in the right hemisphere of the brain in women which they say could be attributed to gender inequality.

Women living in societies with high levels of gender inequality experience greater adversity, and this could negatively impact their brain development.

University of Oxford and Associate Professor in the Pontificia Universidad Católica in Chile, said: “Our analysis suggests some sex differences in brain structure are associated with the adverse social environment under which many women live.

“These changes were particularly located in brain regions involved in the control of emotions and that are also affected in stress-related disorders such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

“We, therefore, think that what we are seeing is the effect of chronic stress in women’s brains in gender-unequal environments. Stress affects neurons’ connections, which we would then see as thinning of the grey matter cortex in MRI studies.

“However other mechanisms could also be involved, such as the effect of reduced opportunities including education in women’s brains, leading to lower development of connections.”

Gender inequality can take many forms, including women being prevented from getting an education, being forced into child marriage or suffering gender-based violence.

Source: Gender inequality ‘shrinks women’s brains’

Hundreds of NSW women get legal help for workplace sexual harassment and discrimination | Legal Aid News – March 2024

Women needing help with sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace because of pregnancy, sex and disability have dominated the first year of demand for Legal Aid NSW’s new Respect at Work Legal Service (RAWLS).

New data showed high numbers of women seeking help with workplace sexual harassment and discrimination, with over 800 workers seeking help and 1153 advice and representation services provided since the service, RAWLS, began in January 2023.

Of those services, 71 per cent were for female clients with the most common complaints being disability discrimination (27 per cent) followed by sexual harassment (20 per cent) and sex discrimination (14 per cent).

Source: Legal Aid News – March 2024

BBC in ‘absolute meltdown’ as female staff in uproar over censuring of presenter for trans women remarks

The BBC has found itself at the centre of a storm among its own female staff following its decision to uphold a complaint against Today presenter, Justin Webb.

In August 2023, BBC Radio 4 received a complaint from a listener after Webb had been discussing the decision by a sporting body, the International Chess Federation (FIDE), to ban trans women from all-female competitions.

During the discussion, Webb uttered the phrase: “Trans women, in other words, males.”

The BBC’s editorial complaints unit (ECU) upheld the complaint and said Webb was in breach of its impartiality guidelines.

According to the Telegraph, one email sent to Davie from a female employee warned the “BBC must avoid conflating viewpoints with facts”.

The publication also claims a senior insider at the corporation has described the environment in the BBC newsroom as an “absolute meltdown”.

According to the Telegraph, prominent female presenters and senior BBC women have all written to Davie in regards to the ruling.

Source: BBC in ‘absolute meltdown’ as female staff in uproar over censuring of presenter for trans women remarks

Six months of paid parental leave approved by Senate

The government’s expansion of paid parental leave to 26 weeks has passed the Senate today and will become law.

It means from 1 July this year, more than 180,000 families will benefit from an extra two weeks of leave (22 weeks in total). This number will then increase to 24 weeks from July 2025 and 26 weeks from July 2026.

The changes are designed to encourage families with two parents to share the care, with four weeks reserved for each parent.

With the changes to paid parental leave now approved, the next step for the government is to legislate its recent announcement that it will pay superannuation payments to those using the government-funded paid parental leave scheme.

Source: Six months of paid parental leave approved by Senate