House of Representatives 15/03/2021
Mr KHALIL (Wills) (13:45): I’ve just come from the women’s March4Justice—thousands of women from around Australia came to parliament to have their voices heard, to stand up for equality and to say loudly: gendered violence, sexual assault and harassment should have no place in our society and should have no place in this parliament. I was there to listen to the speeches and the testimony of women like Aminata Conteh-Biger and Brittany Higgins. They spoke not only for themselves but for millions of women. I was there to stand with these women and to acknowledge and understand the challenges and the injustices they face every day. I was there because men need to be there, standing alongside women who are calling for respect, for equality and for basic safety at work, walking home at night and in their relationships.
We need to change the culture in this place—the laws, the structures and the workplace standards. Whether issues are raised within our government, our Labor Party or any party, it doesn’t matter. If there are claims of bullying, harassment or sexual assault, we must listen, investigate and act, not politically spin with the craven hope that these issues will disappear with the next news cycle. There is a spotlight on the hill today, shining brightly on some dark places. Let’s keep that spotlight shining right here. Let’s do everything we can to make the change that is necessary in this place.