Thursday, 25 February 2021
International Women's Day
I rise to acknowledge International Women's Day 2021, on 8 March. This year's theme is 'women lead'. When I was a young girl Margaret Thatcher had just become Prime Minister. We could literally hear the glass ceiling shatter. Margaret Thatcher may have broken the glass ceiling, but she didn't give a roadmap to those who followed. She didn't tell us how we would navigate the massive social changes that were afoot, changes that would alter the fundamental fabric of society and changes that were for the better but that have also come at a cost. As recent events tell us, those costs still need to be addressed.
With the advent of the pill, women were empowered to control their biological destiny. This meant women could do things that previous generations could not even imagine. Women are now achieving through all levels of society. Women are the drivers of change. However, recent events in this place have highlighted that we still have a long way to go with regard to ensuring this place, like every other place, is a safe place for women—a place free from the risk of violence. We need to do better. We have a collective responsibility to change the culture here.
Both sides of the aisle want to attract the best and brightest from across Australia to work here at the heart of our democracy and ensure a broad representation of society. We want the women and men of parliament to be proud of the way in which they serve their country, not frightened by the bad or even criminal behaviour of others. This can only be achieved by ensuring a safe and professional workplace that matches the best practices of every other workplace in Australia.
I thank the women of the past who have paved the way for me to stand here. I am proud to be amongst those who seek to change the world to make it safer for women. Around the world, we need to work together to protect, respect and reflect on the issues that affect women. There is so much more to do, but there is hope that the warm winds of change are now howling down the corridors of power. We all need to be the change we want to see. Happy International Women's Day.