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Government Leaders Will Not Attend Women’s Parliament Justice on March 4, Inspired by Brittany Higgins Rape Charges

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Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack will not take part in a public march planned Monday to seek action on violence against women in the House of Parliament, after a month of allegations that she shelters a toxic job.

Coming out on Insider, McCormack was asked why it could not take 10 minutes to talk to the women and men who were expected to land in the nation’s capital today.

“Look, at the end of the day, we want Parliament to be a convenient and proper place to work, and I know that in my office I actually told this to my staff, I’m sure they know all appropriate processes and protocols.

“If there are issues that people think are not being supported and there are issues that are really very serious, then they should be taken by the appropriate authorities, so the department in cases of harassment and the police if the issues are more serious. that so “.

A woman smiles with a beach behind
Women like Brittany Higgins have inspired the marches.(

Supplied

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The protesters dressed in black plan to demonstrate on the first day of parliamentary sessions since the two weeks devastated by the scandal in which accusations of culture in the building were raised.

National Day of Action will also see marches across the country, although the main event in Canberra had to be changed due to COVID-19 security measures.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he would also not take part in the march, but would be happy to meet with organizers to hear what the government wanted them to do.

“I would be happy to meet with a delegation from the group that is coming to Canberra,” Mr Morrison said.

“I will meet them as I do with many groups. I will meet them privately in my office and listen to them carefully.”

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The Prime Minister rules out participation in the march, which is set to take place outside the House of Parliament

Opposition leader Anthony Albanese said he would attend the Justice March protest4 with colleagues to show his support for the campaign.

“We have a disaster of violence against women and children, we need to listen to what people say and tomorrow is an opportunity to do so.”

What is happening?

A woman is holding up a poster that says 'Enough' with the details of a march, standing outside the Parliament House in Canberra.
Janine Hendry is urging people to surround the House of Parliament in silent protest against alleged discrimination and sexual abuse.(

ABC News: Tamara Penniket

)

The protests are being organized by Melbourne academic Janine Hendry, who initially described her hopes for “extremely dissatisfied women” to tie up arms and form a human chain around the House of Parliament in Canberra.

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Monday is the first day of parliamentary sessions since the end of February, when Parliament was engulfed by a claim made by Brittany Higgins that she was raped inside the office of then-Defense Industry Minister Linda Reynolds.

Separately, Attorney General Christian Porter has also vehemently denied a historic rape charge that goes back more than 30 years and is currently on mental health leave.

Organizers hope the march in Canberra will see thousands of protesters being taken to the lawns of the House of Parliament, but protests will also be held in all major cities and dozens of regional locations.

Will it be safe for COVID?

The main event in Canberra has been approved by ACT Health authorities, although concessions have been made to ensure the protests comply with the rules there.

Parliament House in Canberra
The organizers initially wanted to surround the House of Parliament in Canberra.(

ABC News: Jenny Magee

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While the initial plan was to form a human ring around Parliament, that plan had to be rejected for security reasons.

Anyone participating in the main march will be required to register with ACT’s Check In CBR app and a hand cleaner will be available at the event.

What do the protesters want?

The march to the House of Parliament will culminate in organizers submitting a petition calling for a range of actions including:

  • Independent investigations into cases of gender-based violence
  • Strengthening the Act on Gender Discrimination
  • Mandatory training on gender-based violence and sexual harassment of MPs and their staff
  • That all Australian parliaments have a 50:50 gender gap by 2030

At least one of the protesters’ demands has already been met, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison last week announcing sex discrimination commissioner Kate Jenkins will conduct a review of workplace culture at the House of Parliament.

Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins speaks.
Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins is reviewing the workplace culture at the House of Parliament.(

AAP: David Moir

)

At the time, Mr Morrison acknowledged that the culture in Parliament needed to change.

“The Australian Parliament should set the example that others should follow,” he said.

“The Australian Parliament should reflect best practice in preventing and responding to any case of harassment, sexual harassment or sexual assault.”

Ms. Hendry said she believed the marches, which she labeled non-political, would ensure lasting change.

“Women who have never marched before are joining us in action. Women who have marched all their lives are still here,” Ms. Hendry said.

“There are people from every political party and no political party.”

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