Communicare and White Ribbon Australia applauds the 34th Australian Parliament as the most diverse in the country's history and a major leap forward in advancing the representation of women in positions of political power.
It is telling that women won the majority of seats that changed hands during the election and only fitting that Labor reflected that outcome in the make-up of the new Federal Cabinet.
Not only do women make up 10 of the 23 new Labor Cabinet Ministers - or around 43 percent – importantly they come from many varied racial, ethnic, and religious backgrounds, including Linda Burney, a Wiradjuri woman who is now the Minister for Indigenous Australians.
For many years, Australia has been behind the rest of the globe in terms of gender equality in Parliament and Cabinet. I think that's been reflected in some of the toxic behaviours that have manifested in the corridors of power, particularly in recent years.
Penny Wong is Australia's first Foreign Minister of Asian origin, Linda Burney is the first female Indigenous Cabinet Minister, and Anne Aly is the first female politician with a Muslim background.
We are looking forward to working with our new Minister for Women, Senator Katy Gallagher, who is also the Minister for Finance, to ensure that women's economic growth and security is prioritised in future social and public policy.
We also welcome Amanda Rishworth, the new Minister of Social Services, and Justine Elliot, the Assistant Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence.
At this moment, it looks like at least 57 women will serve in the House of Representatives, accounting for 38 per cent of the House. This is the most women in the Lower House that we've seen and it sets a precedent for all future Parliaments.
The number of women in Senate positions will continue to be greater than 50 per cent, reversing a 20-year fall in the international ranking of women in national legislatures, moving Australia up to roughly 37th place, ahead of Portugal, Tanzania, and Italy.
Gender equality and women's safety was not at the top of the election's priority list; in fact, it ranked well below climate change and the cost of living. However, voters throughout the country chose politicians who expressly stated a desire to change our political landscape.
A socially inclusive society is viewed as a core component of democratic government that allows women to have a strong voice on issues that impact their lives.
Actions that are necessary to address the societal environment in which women are subjected to violence must include – both in public and private life - the promotion and normalisation of gender equality.
We welcome the ongoing conversations and commitment to investing in primary prevention by calling men and boys in to contribute to action aligned with the new Labor Government's policies around gender equality.
We are also calling for greater support for men's behaviour change programs and perpetrator interventions, particularly an investment in diverse, nation-wide services, to work with male perpetrators to make them accountable for their violence.
We have a significant opportunity right now to put in place programs and policies that promote gender equality, engage men to be part of the solution to ending gendered violence and create a society that is built on unity, not division.
We want this new government to make ending men's violence against women and children a national priority and trust in those programs that are already delivering preventative measures.
Women who are experiencing violence or abuse can call 1800RESPECT for confidential information, counselling and support. Men who are concerned that they may use violence are urged to call the Men's Referral Service on 1300 766 491.
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