March 4 Justice: Nationwide protests against gendered violence
March 4 Justice protests against sexism, harassment and gendered violence sparked by ex-Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins’s rape allegations have taken place across Australia with thousands of people attending the protests.
Ms Higgins went public last month with allegations a male colleague raped her inside the Parliament House office of then-defence industry minister Linda Reynolds.
What has ensued has been national outcry over harassment in the workplace, toxic culture in parliament and the handling of Ms Higgins’ case.
Ms Higgins said during the rally in Canberra on Monday that it is “unfathomable that we are still having to fight this same stale, tired fight.”
“We are all here today not because we want to be here, because we have to be here,” she said.
“We fundamentally recognise the system is broken, the glass ceiling is still in place, and there are significant failings in the power structures within our institution.”
More than one thousand people marched to Tasmania’s Parliament House and heard sexual assault survivor Grace Tame, 2021 Australian of the Year.
“Evil thrives in silence,” Ms Tame said. “The start of the solution is quite simple making noise.”
Speakers including Indigenous community leader Marie Barbaric and author Jess Hill roused the crowd at Town Hall in Sydney before the march to NSW State Parliament.
Organisers are using the march and this online petition to demand Federal Parliament take immediate action towards:
- Full independent investigations into all cases of gendered violence and timely referrals to appropriate authorities. Full public accountability for findings.
- Full implementation of the 55 recommendations in the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Respect@Work report of the National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces 2020.
- The lifting of public funding for gendered violence prevention to world’s best practice.
- The enactment of a federal Gender Equality Act to promote gender equality and for it to include a gender equity audit of Parliamentary practices.