What we know about the new parliament so far
Sunday 22nd May 2022
The final election results are still being counted, but it’s already clear: the next federal Government is committed to stronger action for women’s safety.
Thank you to everyone who has spoken out and advocated on these issues in recent weeks, months and years – together we’ve had a powerful impact on what is possible in the next parliament. Going into the election Fair Agenda worked hard to get candidates on the record about their commitments to women’s safety. Here’s what we know about the members of the new parliament so far...
The next Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese and his Labor Government, are committed to strong action for women’s safety. In the lead up to the election, the ALP provided a party-wide pledge that they will:
- Improve the prevention of gender-based violence by pushing for a national gender equity strategy; and expanding expert-led consent and respectful relationships education in schools.
- Back increased funding of specialist sexual, domestic and family violence services
- Vote for better legal and institutional responses for victim-survivors – to ensure people seeking support are helped, not hurt, by systems that should support them. This includes action to hold universities, aged care facilities and group homes accountable for providing safe environments; and supporting 10 days paid family and domestic violence leave for all workers.
- Vote to fully implement all 55 of the Sex Discrimination Commissioner’s Respect@Work recommendations to address workplace sexual harassment.
- Champion reforms for a safer parliament – including full implementation of the Sex Discrimination Commissioner’s ‘Set the Standard’ report. That includes a commitment to vote for a strong Code of Conduct; and to support the Independent Parliamentary Standards Commission to be able to recommend a full range of sanctions if that Code of Conduct is breached (including suspension and withholding of salary for MPs). The ALP have also committed to support actions to advance gender equity, diversity and inclusion across the parliamentary workplace.
There are also strong commitments for action amongst the new parliamentarians: Greens MPs Elizabeth Watson-Brown and Max Chandler-Mather, and new independents Dr Monique Ryan, Zoe Daniel, Allegra Spender and Kylea Tink – have all taken Fair Agenda’s Pledge for a Safer Future.
That means they are committed to support all of the above policies; as well as providing the $1 billion of annual federal investment that experts say is necessary to properly resource the National Plan to End Violence Against Women and Children.
New MP for Mackellar Dr Sophie Scamps, has also committed to stronger action in many areas, and left the door open for further commitments.
Amongst the seats still too close to call in the Lower House: - Independent Caz Heise, contesting Cowper, has taken the full Pledge for a Safer Future, and committed to champion women’s safety if elected. - In Gilmore, Andrew Constance, the Liberal candidate, was the sole member of the Coalition to make commitments in response to the Pledge for a Safer Future – and he committed to support all but one of the 19 actions asked for. The ALP MP in that seat - Fiona Phillips - has also made strong commitments to most of the actions in the Pledge.
Any reforms put forward in the House will have to also be passed by the Senate. These races are still too early to call, but key to note that independent David Pocock, who may pick up a key balance of power seat in the ACT Senate, has taken the full Pledge for a Safer Future, and committed to support the actions needed to end gender-based violence and improve women’s safety.
While women’s safety was sidelined in this election debate – women’s votes are being highlighted as a key factor in this new parliament outcome.
These commitments are a fantastic starting point for the transformative change that women need; and deserve – and to end men’s use of gender-based violence. But the work for the safer future we need is still far from done.
We look forward to working with the new parliament to ensure we make progress and rapidly improve the prevention, response and recovery efforts needed to transform our community – and to ensure we can all live with respect, dignity and safety that we deserve.
If you're not already part of the Fair Agenda movement, please join our campaigns for a safer and more equitable future at: http://fairagenda.org/join