Tuesday, 10 November 2020
Statements by Members
Stott Despoja, Ms Natasha, AO
I rise today to offer my wholehearted congratulations to Natasha Stott Despoja on her election to a seat on the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women. She is the first Australian to hold such a position in 30 years. Natasha was Australia's candidate after the completion of a merit based selection process, and I can't think of anyone more qualified to take on this role. This appointment is a continuation of Natasha's vital work in the fight to advance the rights of women and girls around the globe and end discrimination against them in our laws and institutions. Natasha is well known in this place as the founding chair of Our Watch, the national foundation to prevent violence against women and their children, appointed by the then Labor government—an organisation that I have been delighted to host at Parliament House many times in recent years. Previously, Natasha was Australia's Ambassador for Women and Girls, a member of the United Nations' High Level Working Group on the Health and Human Rights of Women, Children And Adolescents and prior to this, of course, Natasha was a senator in the other place and a leader of the Democrats for an extended period. I know Natasha is a friend, mentor and adviser to many members of this House and in the other place across all sides of politics.
Importantly, Natasha will serve as the only representative from Oceania on this committee—a region where Australian leadership on gender equality is so crucial. I know Natasha will use this significant platform to continue her important work of promoting gender equality around the world, including back home in Australia. While we have made progress, Australia clearly has more work to do in this regard.