The Queensland premier will write to the Prime Minister on Wednesday demanding he call a national women’s summit in the wake of the horrific sexual assault scandals exposed this year.
Annastacia Palaszczuk said “now is the time” following the groundswell of support in the March 4 Justice, which was inspired by allegations from former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins of rape in parliament as well as historic sexual assault claims against former Attorney-General Christian Porter.
The premier said she will ask Scott Morrison to place the demand on the agenda for Friday’s National Cabinet, hoping to place the spotlight on wide-ranging gender inequality plaguing Australian workplaces, culture and policy.
“This is really important to look at gender inequality, to look at economic inequality, to look at actions to address the gender pay gap, actions to address the superannuation gap, issues around addressing issues of affordable child care,” she told reporters.
RELATED: Qld health minister says she was groped in parliament
“This is a huge issue for women out there in our community — time and time again my sisters have told me and other members of the community how expensive it is for child care when you’re working.
“These are really big issues in terms of women’s equality.”
Ms Palaszczuk’s colleagues have been vocal in revealing personal stories in the last few months of alleged assault in and out of workplaces.
In a special motion initiated by the premier in Queensland parliament last month, an impassioned series of speeches from ministers and MPs from either side of politics detailed horrific stories of assault.
Among these was the Health Minister Yvette D’Ath who said she was assaulted during a function at work.
“Two years ago as the Attorney-General I was groped by an international judge at a conference in this parliament,” she said.
“This is still happening today and it has to stop.”
The courage to come forward and share their stories to inspire change was applauded by Ms Palaszczuk, who said the “time is now right” to stamp out issues of assault.
“What we have seen over the last few months is a huge wave of support for women to have their voices heard and I think the time is now right to have a national women’s summit,” she told reporters on Wednesday.
“I will be asking the other leaders to support this.”
The premier said she was open to hosting the summit in Queensland or leaders congregating in Canberra to meet and discuss change.
Quotas within Ms Palaszczuk’s Labor cabinet have allowed the state government to voice issues for women through a 50 per cent female representation, she said.
“We have made huge inroads in Queensland when it comes to making sure that we have 50 per cent women on our government boards, making sure we address issues like domestic and family violence, making sure we have set up a task force headed by respected former judge Margaret McMurdo to look at the way women are treated in the criminal justice system,” the premier said.
“I honestly believe that if we are going to achieve equality in this country, then now is the time.
“Now is the time for us to have a national women’s summit.”
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