Equality

March 2024 Policy Update
Previous version May 2023

Gender equality is good for everyone. It makes our communities safer and healthier, and it is good for the economy.

The Goldstein community elected me on a platform of gender equality, among other things, and I will continue to fight for a society where people are equal.

Gender equality is pivotal to Australia’s progress – socially and economically. As a nation, we have an opportunity to restore Australia as a world leader in gender equality. Women are not a minority and should not be treated as such.

I will continue to work to push the Government further on gender equality policies to elevate women and girls, and as I promised, to speak up for those who are not in the room.

To do this, we must intentionally focus on empowering all women and girls to have equal opportunities and pathways to secure jobs and take committed action to prevent and address gender-based violence.

This means putting a gender lens on all relevant legislation to properly and adequately consider gender as a factor in the development and evaluation of laws and policies.

Priorities

Women’s economic equalityWomen’s economic participation across their lifetime is less valued, secure, and safe which leads to lower incomes, less job security, job segregation, lower super balances, lower wealth creation, and a higher likelihood of poverty. We must enable women’s workforce participation across all sectors. Women want secure work and respect, and that is exactly what I will continue to fight for, to the benefit of our community and nation.

Women’s safety – Sexual assault and sexual harassment are not only harmful to women’s health and well-being, but gender-based violence is also a key barrier to women’s workforce participation and economic security. If the Government is serious about wanting to re-establish Australia as a global leader on gender equality, it must urgently address women’s safety. Everyone deserves to live and work free of violence. 

What I’ve done

  • Convened a Roundtable with industry, government, and community independents in March 2023 to reframe the opportunities for women in renewables, STEM, and construction for submission to the Office for Women. Work is ongoing in this area.
  • Led the push to restore access to the Parenting Payment Single allowance to all single parents until their youngest child reaches 14 years of age. More than 95% of these recipients are women. This was a win for women’s economic empowerment and safety.
  • Pushed the Education Minister to address sexual violence in universities. This resulted in the Draft Action Plan including a Student Ombudsman to hold universities to account. I will follow this through to make sure the Action Plan is as strong as it should be.
  • Brought the issue of eating disorders to federal parliament, calling for a better model of care for children and adolescents with the illness. This has since resulted in $70m in funding and grants for research in the May 2023 budget.
  • Convened a roundtable and working group including social media giants to address the issue of harmful content on social media platforms. I will present the group’s recommendations to the government in April 2024.
  • Had Parliament House lit up in orange in November 2023 – the universal colour that brings global recognition to the epidemic of gender-based violence –  and called for urgent action, more resources and earlier intervention. I’m working with the government to achieve real time cohesive data collection and action to improve outcomes for those affected.
  • Nominated Vida Goldstein for a statue. In December 2023, the City of Melbourne announced Vida would finally get her statue.

What I’m doing

Further reforms are needed to ensure women’s economic participation and safety. I will continue to push the government further on:

  • Investing in well-paid, secure jobs in care sectors.
  • Investing in universal, high-quality, and affordable Early Childhood Education and Care delivered by properly paid educators.A 10% wage supplement for ECEC educators in recognition of the historical undervaluation of their work and the urgent need to retain and attract workers to the sector.
  • Expanding the Paid Parental Leave to 52-weeks by 2030 to enable more women to stay connected to the workforce.
  • Extending the superannuation guarantee to the Commonwealth Paid Parental Leave Scheme to help reduce the superannuation gap between men and women in retirement.
  • Getting more women into male-dominated industries with an emphasis on the renewable energy sector through setting targets for female apprenticeships and wage subsidy incentives. Australia has one of the highest gender-segregated workforces among OECD countries. Women currently make up 3% of the trades workforce.
  • Adequate funding for the 10-year National Plan to Eliminate Violence Against Women and Children. Approximately one Australian woman is killed every 9 days by a male intimate partner. Intimate partner violence is the biggest preventable threat to the health, wellbeing, and safety of Australian women. Experts in the violence-prevention sector say $1 billion per year is needed to have any hope of ending VAW within a generation, as the National Plan sets out to do.
  • Making workplaces safe from sexual harassment.
  • Fully implementing the Set the Standard Report recommendations.
  • Sufficient funding for women’s housing and homelessness, particularly for older women.
  • Investing in In-Home treatment programs for eating disorders to keep children and adolescents out of hospitals, reduce the trauma of hospitalisation, take the pressure off the hospital system and reduce the stress of families who are trying to refeed their children.