STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS: Women in Parliament

18 March 2021

Three years ago, almost to the day, I won a hard fought by-election, my first election. The battle brought out some undesirable tactics from supporters—I admit, on both sides. A number of rallies were held during that election. Placards with my face, in fact, corflutes of mine that were stolen for the very purpose, were defaced and painted over. Markings were drawn across my face making me look like a pig and a witch. Horrible slogans were plastered on them. These were carried through the streets, and chants about me were called. Words calling me 'baby killer' were sprawled across my electoral office. One poster attached to a pole outside the front door said, 'Open season on politicians,' with a picture implying that I was fair game to be shot.

This issue is an incredibly important conversation. It is one of unquestioned solidarity from me and my Labor sisters to all women across the political divide. In fact, all women in all workplaces deserve to be safe. Nurses should not be abused. Shop assistants deserve respect. Hospitality workers should not be groped. So many of us have experienced the sexualised comments, the insults, the obsession with our bodies and our private lives, and expectation of sexual favours. The collective feminist tradition of the Labor Party gives women in it the strength to push through this nonsense. We need to fight alongside each other against women-hating everywhere. If this is happening to one, it is happening to us all.