Category: Women

Brittany Higgins’ bravery exposes struggle for women’s legal rights

The miscarriage of justice in the Bruce Lehrmann trial has highlighted the weakness in our democratic institutions and the betrayal of women such as Brittany Higgins, writes Dr Jennifer Wilson.

Source: Brittany Higgins’ bravery exposes struggle for women’s legal rights

Nothing agitates the ‘Anglosphere’ more than young women in power – Pearls and Irritations

Finish Prime Minister Sanna Marin.

There is nothing which agitates much of the ‘Anglosphere’ media more than a young attractive woman in power. The latest example of the phenomenon is the treatment of 37-year-old Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin.

Source: Nothing agitates the ‘Anglosphere’ more than young women in power – Pearls and Irritations

Retrial of Bruce Lehrmann for sexual assault will not go ahead

Bruce Lehrmann arrives at court on Thursday


The retrial of Bruce Lehrmann for the alleged rape of former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins will not go ahead, with charges against Lehrmann reportedly to be dropped, according to’s Samatha Maiden. She reports new medical evidence showed a second trial would be far too damaging to Higgins’ mental health. ACT Director of Public Prosecutions Shane Drumgold will front the media at 10am AEDT — Maiden says he’ll use his prosecutorial discretion to drop the charge against Lehrmann. Drumgold refused to confirm it to the reporter, but says it has confirmed it. Former Liberal staffer Lehrmann has always said he is innocent of the rape allegation — his first trial was aborted because a member of the jury did their own research, Guardian Australia reported at the time.

Source: Retrial of Bruce Lehrmann for sexual assault will not go ahead

Spilt milk 10,000 miles away – » The Australian Independent Media Network

My name is Nicole. I’m a scientist and a mother, but underneath all of that I am a woman. Not only this but like all women I have faced significant adversity because of my gender. I have stood in front of a man clutching my abdomen explaining I am bleeding heavily, at a hospital where I was told to ‘rough it’ because the then law made it illegal to transport me or for me to use public spaces or restrooms. As if a dog on heat, I have walked out of a hospital, walked 1.5km to my car in agony bleeding through my pants and squatted on the side of the road, hands resting on dried eucalyptus leaves, as the product of conception violently ejected itself from my body.

Upon making a complaint about this injustice, I have been told by the director (a man) of a hospital, that despite blood work indicating I was pregnant, I wasn’t bleeding enough and couldn’t have been having a miscarriage – because I didn’t bleed on cue. I have been ignored in both my professional and in public life, harassed, assaulted, and objectified and raped. All because of my biology. I have missed work, opportunities and taken countless sick days. All of this, simply for having a uterus, an organ that the opposite sex (men) don’t have. And before I even used her (my uterus) to the full extent of the activities she is capable of, I knew inequality in the deepest part of my soul. This is because I am a woman. This is what it means to be a woman even in my own country, Australia.


Source: Spilt milk 10,000 miles away – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Forbidden research prompted the Bruce Lehrmann jury to be discharged. So, what are the rules for jurors? – ABC News

Anonymous crowd of people walking on city street

Is this the trial of Bruce? Or the trial of Brittany? The title seems quite confusing given the direct participation. The hours of questioning have all been on Brittany’s shoulders. Furthermore, she now according to media reports has been referred to the police for possible Contempt of Court matters. Given this example of the ordeal, women can expect to face is it any wonder very few cases of rape or sexual assault are ever reported let alone come to trial?

The jury in the rape trial of Bruce Lehrmann was yesterday discharged without having reached a verdict, due to misconduct by a juror.

Source: Forbidden research prompted the Bruce Lehrmann jury to be discharged. So, what are the rules for jurors? – ABC News

How right-wing media reacted to the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade | Media Matters for America

Right-wing media celebrated the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade on Friday, ending the constitutional right to abortion almost 50 years after it had been recognized. The ruling was the culmination of a decadeslong project on the right and was celebrated across conservative media outlets and on Twitter.

How right-wing media reacted to the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade | Media Matters for America

Julia Banks: Respect at work starts at the top

respect julia banks

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has repeatedly shown a lack of commitment to ensuring respect, safety and equity for all women in the workplace.

It’s shown in large ways and small: “We both respect females in the workplace …” Morrison said at a forum – not only a jarring reference to “females in the workforce”, as if working women are some form of rare species, but also creating another falsehood by wrongly co-opting Albanese, who, based on my experience and that of countless others who have either met or worked with both men, is a decent and respectful man.

I‘d never met Gillard, so I lined up in the queue after the unveiling.

The cameras were clicking furiously, and I knew the microphones would be on. So, when it came my turn, I whispered quietly so that only she could hear, and thanked her for ‘everything she had done for women’.

Obviously aware it had been a stressful time for me, she warmly whispered back while we were still shaking hands, “you know how to get my number – if you want a confidential chat”.

Despite the difference in our political status – and our politics – I saw it as a shared connection of mutual respect. And it was such a warm and embracing gesture – one which I shall never forget – from a former prime minister for whom I shall have enduring respect.

Source: Julia Banks: Respect at work starts at the top

Will Supreme Court conservatives overturn Roe? Their casual contempt for women is not a good sign |

Amy Coney Barrett, Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)

Amy Coney Barrett, the token Aunt Lydia of the 6 conservative judges, kept circling around the argument that women don’t need abortion rights, because “in all 50 states, you can terminate parental rights” after giving birth. It was a question that only makes sense if one assumes women are merely ambulatory uteruses, with no feelings or internal lives at all. In the real world, however, pregnancy is a difficult process, not just physically, but emotionally. Pregnancy isn’t a houseplant you stick in the corner of your house and ignore until someone comes to pick it up. You carry it with your body. People ask you about it — indeed, as anyone who has been pregnant can tell you, it’s basically all people can talk to you about when you’re showing. It causes all sorts of hormonal and emotional reactions, and giving up a baby your body has created is notoriously wrenching, even for those who are ready to do it.

Source: Will Supreme Court conservatives overturn Roe? Their casual contempt for women is not a good sign |

Medicare investigation indicates female genital mutilation in Australia – Michael West Media

Ms Gbla said “FGM is put in the ‘too hard’ cultural basket, instead of being treated like all other forms of child abuse and violence against women. And the impact of that is that little girls are being left unprotected, and that’s the saddest part for me. That is what breaks my heart.” “If a white child was at risk of being abused, you’d never make the argument it’s their culture.” What’s more, Ms Gbla highlights that that the practice and definition of FGM is not limited to any one culture. It covers any kind of cutting to the female genitalia performed for non-medical reasons and is unfortunately practiced on every continent except Antarctica. “The history of FGM in the west gets suppressed,” Ms Gbla says, citing the condition of “hysteria involved cutting women’s clitorises left right and centre” while labiaplasty remains a modern iteration of FGM. “Violence against women and child abuse doesn’t discriminate, but we discriminate,” Ms Gbla said.

Source: Medicare investigation indicates female genital mutilation in Australia – Michael West Media

A Giant Step Forward for Women in Australian Soccer

Australia’s national men’s and women’s teams have agreed to pool all revenue generated by both teams in areas such as broadcasting, sponsorship, merchandising and match-day proceeds. The Matildas and Socceroos take an equal percentage of that money, with an additional portion allocated to youth national teams. This change results in an enormous increase — more than 90% — in guaranteed minimum payments for the Matildas over the course of the four-year CBA.

A Giant Step Forward for Women in Australian Soccer

Has Scott Morrison changed the script on women and sexism, or is this political self-preservation? – ABC News

Morrison strides down an empty corridor holding a folder

But he came with no solutions, only a commitment to stand with women. It was a reset, a changing of the script. But without solutions it runs the risk of being seen as a political exercise in self-preservation. A spin job. A response to research and polling that is telling the government women are red hot with rage.

Has Scott Morrison changed the script on women and sexism, or is this political self-preservation? – ABC News

Christian Porter allegation: Annette Kimmitt’s MinterEllision departure is not surprising

Minter Ellison chief executive Annette Kimmitt has agreed to leave over an email she sent to staff.

When I was sexually harassed as a young lawyer at a top-tier firm, even though the HR department upheld my complaint, the miserable person who departed the company a few months later was me, not my harasser. He still works there.

Christian Porter allegation: Annette Kimmitt’s MinterEllision departure is not surprising

Anger has turned to sadness for Australia’s fed-up women – ABC News

A composite image of Grace Tame and Scott Morrison

Last year, the Prime Minister said he wanted women to be believed. When journalist Ronan Farrow, who broke the Harvey Weinstein allegations, was asked if the best way to honour a woman’s experiences was to believe her, Farrow replied it was better to investigate. To trust — but verify. To listen, really listen. To understand just how much it took for a woman to speak out at all, and then do the work to establish the truth.

Anger has turned to sadness for Australia’s fed-up women – ABC News

With #MarchToThePolls in Chicago, Women’s March Aims to Channel ‘Outrage and Energy’ to Defeat Trump Agenda on Election Day

Not seen since the days of the Vietnam War will Fox News cover the event?ODT)

The 2018 March to the Polls will follow Chicago’s 300,000-strong Women’s March on January 20, 2018, offering resources and information to first-time voters as well as musical guests and speakers including Heather Booth, founder of the pre-Roe v. Wade underground abortion collective Jane.

via With #MarchToThePolls in Chicago, Women’s March Aims to Channel ‘Outrage and Energy’ to Defeat Trump Agenda on Election Day

How the Australian media play a pivotal role in the bullying of women

Unless and until Australian media takes responsibility for its own role in bullying women, and in particular for slut shaming us, the answer to Baird’s question will be, sadly, “No”. Nobody can stop Australia’s slut shaming as long as the media is willing to engage in that vile practice.

And no journalist can honestly claim to be seeking a truthful answer to the question posed by Baird unless she or he is prepared to analyse the role of their own profession and their own complicity, whether through silence, denial, or their more active engagement in a practice that is guaranteed to destroy a woman’s career.

 How the Australian media play a pivotal role in the bullying of women


‘Bullying, betrayal and backstabbing’: Can the Liberal Party survive?

US gets into 10 most dangerous countries for women due to #metoo – survey — RT US News

US gets into 10 most dangerous countries for women due to #metoo - survey

The United States is the 10th most dangerous country in the world for women when it comes to the risk of sexual violence, harassment and being coerced into sex, according to a new poll of global experts.

The US was the only Western country in top ten, while the other nine countries were in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, according to the Thomson Reuters Foundation poll of 548 experts in women’s issues around the world.

via US gets into 10 most dangerous countries for women due to #metoo – survey — RT US News

Women joining IS militants are dangerous cheerleaders, not victims, according to experts

Women who join Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria are banned from fighting but are active propagandists for the cause, reasearchers say

Western women who join Islamic State militants are driven by the same ideological passion as many male recruits and should be seen as potentially dangerous cheerleaders, not victims, experts said.

Western women who join Islamic State militants are driven by the same ideological passion as many male recruits and should be seen as potentially dangerous cheerleaders, not victims, experts said Wednesday.

A new study from the London-based Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) said the estimated 550 women who have travelled to Iraq and Syria are expected to marry, keep house and bear children.

But despite being banned from fighting, many are active propagandists for the cause on social media, celebrating the brutal violence of IS militants, acting as recruiting sergeants and even encouraging attacks abroad.

“The violent language and dedication to the cause is as strong as we find in some of the men,” said co-author Ross Frenett, an extremism expert.

“The worry is that as ISIS (the IS group) loses ground, as everyone hopes it does, that more and more of these women will transfer from the domestic world they’re in now to a more violent one,” he told AFP.

Much has been written about young women going to become “jihadist brides”, but the prevailing narrative of wide-eyed recruits drawn by a sense of excitement belies the importance of their own faith and passions.

The ISD researchers have been monitoring hundreds of women on social media, but focused for the study on 12 women from Austria, Britain, Canada, France and the Netherlands who are living with the IS group in Iraq and Syria.

Some of the women endorsed the bloody beheadings carried out by the militants — “I wish I did” it, one said after US journalist Steven Sotloff was killed — as well as railing against Western governments and the suffering of Muslims.

“My best friend is my grenade… It’s an American one too. May Allah allow me to kill their Kanzeer (pig) soldiers with their own weapons,” one said.

Crucially, the women also provide advice and encouragement to other women thinking of joining.

“They’re actively recruiting women and providing them with assistance advice and referrals to go to ISIS-held territory,” said Frenett.

“And they are acting as cheerleaders for terrorist attacks back home.”

– Social media ‘rebranding’ –

“There has been this gender blind spot where we see women as victims rather than as potential terrorists,” said Jayne Huckerby, associate professor at Duke University School of Law who specialises in women and counter-extremism.

“Policy makers have overlooked and underrated female terrorism both in terms of motivations for going and the roles that are played there.”

She said many women were driven to leave Western countries because of alienation and restrictions on their freedom to practice their faith, and drawn to the IS group by a sense of adventure and enthusiasm for a new Islamic utopia.

Their key role, aside from being wives and mothers, is to paint a picture to the outside world of daily life under the militants, through postings on social media that intersperse violent videos with photos of their cooking.

“They’re very important in terms of re-branding ISIS as less of a terror group and more of a state building exercise,” Huckerby told AFP.

She noted that many were also willing to fight, a point also made by Melanie Smith, of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR) at King’s College London.

Smith, who maintains a database of about 70 female IS members, said British women are inciting attacks by suggesting them to people who could not travel to Iraq and Syria.

“You can see women online being frustrated about the fact they can’t fight and they suggest to each other that they could do something else,” she told The Observer newspaper.

Despite their passion, many of the women appear to find it difficult to leave their families behind, a factor which could be key to keeping them at home.

Frenett said the authorities should better support relatives, and also provide a way out for the women if they become disillusioned.

“There needs to be a path available to them when they come home,” he said.

Scott’s new targets


  • December 23, 2014
  • Written by:

In October, Labor voted to pass nearly $3 billion in budget savings with revised welfare legislation which will see Family payments cut and young people on a disability support pension will have their cases reviewed.

The laws will:

  • reduce the primary income earner limit for Family Tax Benefit B from $150,000 to $100,000
  • limit the FTB – A large family payment to those with four or more children
  • review the cases of people under 35 who are receiving a disability support pension
  • include untaxed super income in eligibility assessments for the Seniors Health Card
  • remove scholarships for students moving between major cities

The most substantial cuts will involve those families who lose entitlement to FTB Part B, worth just over $3000 per year, when their youngest child turns six and is at school, although transitional arrangements will apply until July 2017. Low income lone parents will instead get a payment of $750 dollars a year per child aged 6 to 12 years.

About $10 billion in budget measures, including increasing the pension age, reducing the rate of increases to pensions and freezing family payments, remain blocked.  In a bid to woo the crossbenchers, the Government has “repackaged” those cuts and changes to a new series of bills.

The Government proposes to freeze all income-test thresholds for most benefits for three years, and FTB payment rates for two. Freezing payment rates is regressive, since lower-income families bear proportionally higher cuts.

Lone parents earning around two-thirds of the average wage lose between 5.7 to 7.1 per cent of their disposable income. A single-income couple with two school-age children and average earnings loses nearly $90 per week or 6 per cent of their disposable income.

Compare this to the $29 or less than 1 per cent of disposable income paid through the Deficit Levy by an individual on three times the average wage – close to $250,000 by 2017–18. High-income couples could together bring in up to $360,000 per year and not contribute an extra cent.

There will be no transition for unemployed people under 25, who will receive Youth Allowance rather than Newstart. People under 30 will be required to wait for up to six months before getting unemployment benefits and then Work for the Dole.

An unemployed 23-year-old loses $50 per week or 18 per cent of their disposable income. An unemployed lone parent with one 8-year-old child loses $60 per week or 12 per cent.

Senator Abetz backed down from his ridiculous idea of making unemployed people apply for 40 jobs a month which would have led to 30 million job applications a month when there’s not even a couple of hundred thousand jobs on offer.

The Government has also launched a tender process for a new $5.1 billion employment services plan and work for the dole scheme to operate for five years from July 1 next year.  One wonders which private companies will benefit from this $5 billion cash splash and whether the money would not be better spent creating jobs rather than providing slave labour for the private sector who will receive generous payments to administer the scheme.

I also wonder has this government done any modelling on increasing the pension age to 70.  When they increased the age for females from 60 to 65 in 1995 , women with disabilities in this age group increasingly claimed the DSP. The proportion rose from close to zero to about 13 per cent by 2013.  But as the number of women receiving the DSP went up, the number receiving the age pension went down by much more.

In 1995, only about 650 women aged sixty to sixty-four received the DSP and 211,000 received the age pension. By 2012, 86,000 female DSP recipients were in that age group, but only 28,000 age pensioners. So the total number receiving one or other of these pensions has nearly halved, and now the majority receive the DSP.

Increasing the pension age to 70 will just force more people onto the DSP and increase the medical and administrative costs to receive their payment.  So much for cutting red tape.

I sincerely hope Labor have the number crunchers working out exactly how much people are worse off under this government’s policies.  Add in the delay to the increase in the superannuation guarantee, higher fees for university students, cuts to health and education, increased fuel excise, scrapping the increase of the tax free threshold, and every single person is worse off though inversely proportional to their income and wealth.

The Australian Council of Social Service released a new report revealing that poverty is growing in Australia with an estimated 2.5 million people or 13.9% of all people living below the internationally accepted poverty line.

The report provides the most up to date picture of poverty in the nation drawing on new data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics Income and Expenditure surveys for 2011-12 and previous years. It finds that 603,000 or 17.7% of all children were living in poverty in Australia.

The poverty line for a single adult is $400 per week yet the maximum rate of payment for a single person on Newstart – when Rent Assistance and other supplementary payments is added – is only $303 per week. This is $97 per week below the 50% of median income poverty line.

It also emphasises the danger posed by Budget proposals to reduce the indexation of pension payments to the Consumer Price Index only, which is likely to result in higher poverty rates over time than would be the case if payments were indexed to wages and therefore community living standards.

Most at risk groups

  • Women – significantly more likely to experience poverty than men (14.7% compared to 13%);
  • Children and older people – face higher risks of poverty compared to other age groups (17.7% and 14.8% respectively);
  • Sole parents – at high risk with 33% in poverty in 2012 and 36.8% of all children in poverty were in sole parent households;
  • Born overseas – Poverty is higher amongst adults born in countries where the main language is not English (18.8%) than amongst those born overseas in an English speaking country (11.4%), or in Australia (11.6%);
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people – ABS data does not include information to accurately measure this poverty rate, however 2011 HILDA data found 19.3% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in poverty, compared to 12.4% of the total Australian population;
  • People with a disability – latest available data does not allow this poverty rate to be calculated, however our previous report found 27.4% of people with a disability were living in poverty in 2009-2010 compared to 12.8% for the total population.

Abbott’s strategy to help these people is “we removed the carbon tax”.  Come on Labor, let’s compare that to all the other things they have “removed”.

Morrison doesn’t see helping these people as his responsibility.  He views them as his targets, the challenge he must face and subdue.

In the May budget they cut $44 million from the capital works budget for the National Partnership on Homelessness.

Three days before Christmas they axed funding to Community Housing Federation Australia, National Shelter, Homelessness Australia, disability groups and financial counselling services.

In the next budget, Scott Morrison is going to do something about making childcare more affordable.  This will be a welcome move if it isn’t just about making politicians able to claim for their nannies.

povertyHe will also be trying to sell Tony’s signature Paid Parental Leave Scheme or some sort of renegotiated version of it.  If it is means tested, completely unavailable to those over a certain income, then it may be worthwhile though it basically defeats Tony’s stated purpose of encouraging “women of calibre” to breed.  It’s interesting that this “workplace entitlement” is being promoted by the Minister for Social Security who wants the government to pay for maternity leave rather than the employer.  I guess Tony is desperate to have an answer other than carbon tax about what he has done for women but let’s not let it blind us to the needs of our most disadvantaged citizens.

As this government silences advocates for the homeless, the disabled, the young and the needy, our Indigenous and refugee communities, we, the public, must raise our voices to help protect our most vulnerable and to tell the government which direction we want this country to go.

“…the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; those who are in the shadows of life; the sick, the needy and the handicapped. ” – Hubert H. Humphrey