So far however, as Tarana Burke points out, there has been very little systemic change.
There is no doubt that the grassroots based #metoo movement has created a seismic shift in political awareness of the problem of sexual violence, including sexual harassment. So far however, as Tarana Burke points out, there has been very little systemic change.
The scorecard also rates parties across three other top issue priorities set out by Fair Agenda’s most recent member survey. These are: funding to address family violence, taskforce on campus sexual violence and the Federal Government’s controversial ParentsNext.
Workplace sexual harassment stands out as the only issue in which no party was awarded a green light to indicate policy alignment of 80% or above. This reflects the simple truth that our major parties are still grappling to create full policy to address this issue that affects so many.
Let us be clear here – this is not the fault of #metoo. It is the fault of those who hold the power to create change and yet will neither yield nor wield it.
Workplace sexual harassment was the only issue in which no party was awarded a green light to indicate policy alignment of 80% or above.
We have seen the government’s positive step to fund a ground breaking Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces.
NOW Australia, like many other individuals and organisations across this country, dedicated time and resources to put in a submission to the Inquiry. NOW Australia’s submission outlined nine guiding principles and 17 recommendations with a strong alignment to the Power to Prevent’s joint calls to action. Taken collectively the individual and sector engagement with the Inquiry sets a powerful and clear mandate for change.
Yet the Fair Agenda scorecard reveals that the LNP has refused to commit to implementing or resourcing the recommendations of the very inquiry they initiated nor to commit to specific changes advocated by the sector.
When Kate Jenkins, the Sex Discrimination Commissioner, called on Male Champions of Change CEO’s to temporarily waive their non-disclosure agreements, less than 30 organisations in the entire nation were willing to cooperate.
Anthony Wood of law firm Herbert Smith Freehills was quoted as saying, “To say there should be a blanket waiver would be courting defamation.”
Non-disclosure agreements are like the invisibility cloak of sexual harassment. Their shimmer hides all sorts of important information that is needed if we are to create evidence based changes.
In the last eighteen months we have also seen multiple sexual harassment disclosures degenerate into outed survivor identities and noisy defamation cases.
Regardless of which party wins this weekend the vital work to create long lasting change remains one that lies ahead all of us.
For example, we have witnessed the massive dissonance between the emotional turmoil around the of Geoffrey Rush v The Daily Telegraph case, and Eryn Jean Norvill’s graceful statement outside the court: “I would have been content to receive a simple apology and a promise to do better…”
For the record, the Greens and Labor were running equal first in the score card tally, until the Greens nudged forward by being the only party committed to piloting and online reporting tool.
But regardless of which party wins this weekend the vital work to create long lasting change remains one that lies ahead all of us.
Before you head to the polling booths I urge you to read the Fair Agenda scorecard.
Think of Tarana Burke and all the survivors out there fighting hard and healing within a stunted system. As you look at the names on your ballot papers, ask yourself: Who is ready to dive deep?
- Katrina Irawati Graham is Chair of Women in Film and Television Australia and a co-founder and board member of NOW Australia.