Today, in the first event of its kind, over 100 First Nations’ Women from across Western Australia will gather in Perth to have their voices heard.
We have received a strong message about a lack of consultation with First Nations’ Women who for too long have been left out of the policy making process.
That’s why when Labor released our National Gender Equality Strategy last week, we committed to making First Nations’ Women a priority.
Malarndirri McCarthy said:
“In 2017 The Labor Women’s Caucus held consultation meetings in Alice Springs to meet with Arrernte women, this significant event will build on that work.
“As Chair of the Federal Labor First Nations Caucus, I am looking forward to hearing from Aboriginal women from across WA on Nyoongya Country. These women have firsthand life experiences and are specialists in their fields and their life – so we want to hear their ideas about what is working.”
Linda Burney said:
“First Nations Women play an important role in sustaining community wellbeing and culture. This is an important opportunity for their voices to be heard.”
Tanya Plibersek said:
“To succeed, Labor's gender equality strategy must meet the needs of all Australian women – listening to the voices of First Nations women is central to that mission.”
Nyoongar woman and human rights lawyer Hannah McGlade has highlighted violence against women across the state as a major issue to be on the forum agenda. Kathleen Toomath’s daughter Khiara was found deceased in Perth this year - she was trying to have a VRO taken out at the time of her death. Women across the state are still experiencing disproportionate levels of violence. The Aboriginal Family Law Service is at capacity and women are being turned away. Recently these issues have been recognised by the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, Indigenous People and Committee on Race Discrimination. Australia needs to step up.
Steering group member and attendee Donna Nelson believes that it is extremely discouraging that First Nations’ Women continue to face systemic discrimination. Racism contributes to low educational attainment, poor health outcomes, inappropriate inadequate housing and over-representation in the care and justice systems.
This forum will enable First Nations’ Women from all walks of life to be heard.
Labor is committed to giving First Nation's people a voice, including through a constitutionally entrenched representative body that ensures First Nation’s Peoples have a genuine say in the matters that affect their lives.