More than 100 million people participated in a global network-wide Walk to Walkout against Climate Change as part of International Women’s Day 2018 on March 8, 2018. Taking a cue from this global call to action, a group of more than 80 Australian women are calling on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to return the country’s participation in the United Nations Conference on Climate Change COP23. Some see Morrison’s position as a prime illustration of how Australian women view domestic violence.
Some anti-feminist activists in Australia have been raising alarm on social media of an apparent attempt to bypass voting gender guidelines to prevent women from participating in vote projects, including the poll to choose Australia’s 2020 COP ambassador.
The call to COP23 was initiated by philanthropist and women’s rights advocate Monique Collinge. Collinge said her hope was that the delegation would support gender equality around the global issue of climate change and promote a “rigorous process of accountability” within the process.
“This is about the cumulative impact of the many factors which build up to the change we need to achieve the greenhouse gas emissions reductions that can avert the catastrophic impact of climate change,” Collinge said.
Morrison — who has previously ruled out participating in the COP in Bonn, Germany — has not ruled out his attendance. He has instead chosen to focus on the roles of women in the country, especially on domestic violence, which has a record rate of higher incidence than many developed countries.
Around 40 percent of Australia’s domestic violence incidents are against women. According to the latest report from Human Rights Law Centre of Australia, 64 percent of perpetrators are male. Experts say the statistics are indicative of entrenched gender-based violence within the country.
A post on the Coalition for Marriage website declared that the “Governor General’s Facebook page recently shared an invite for women to join a petition to appoint an Australian Women’s Ambassador for Climate Change.”
The post by the Governor General’s Facebook page was from a group of anti-LGBT activists.
The Governor General posted the following message to her official Facebook page, several days later:
They post urged women to quit the Australian Government and create a “no means no mob” movement through the protest, saying they will be “effectively closing the office of the Governor General and the Embassy of Australia,” and “laying waste to the Prime Minister’s Administration” for “a ridiculous little plan” to appoint an “Honorary Australian Woman” to Australia’s UN delegation at the COP 23 conference.
“Women should boycott any statements of support or support for the like of an Australian Woman to be the brand ambassador for climate change or its solutions,” the post concluded.
A photo of former “women of the house” group leader and advocate for victims of violence Amber Harrison shows the group will be going ahead with their action despite the current government’s intention to withdraw its participation.
While the group did make calls to boycott the Australian government at the Melbourne Pride festival, ahead of the Women’s Day that followed, they withdrew their calls to do the same during National Women’s Day itself.
Read the full story at The Sydney Morning Herald.
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