WEL Statement on new Premier of NSW

5/10/021

Women’s Electoral Lobby congratulates Dominic Perrottet on his accession as Premier of NSW. 

It is a sad comment on the political culture of our state that the leaders of Government and the main opposition party are now men and that there were no Liberal women leadership contenders.  We await the outcome of the National Party Leadership ballot, where Melinda Pavey has put herself forward. 

WEL calls on the new Premier to commit to women in relation to social, economic, health and education policy, with a priority on prevention of violence and provision of social housing for older women. 

Women have suffered disproportionately during the Covid crisis, with increased levels of domestic violence, loss of employment in retail, hospitality and other female dominated industries, heightened vulnerability to housing insecurity and homelessness and additional stress arising from working at home, with responsibility for home schooling and childcare.  There is some evidence that women have withdrawn from the workforce in response to such pressures. 

Women’s employment, economic security, health and safety must be central to the new Premier’s Covid recovery plans.

WEL remains concerned that both the successful and unsuccessful candidates for the Liberal leadership both opposed the Abortion Law Reform Act (2019). In his speech during the debate on the Bill the new Premier supported maintenance of the criminalization of medical and health practitioners performing abortions under the NSW Crimes Act 1901.  

It is imperative that the new Premier does not draw on private religious beliefs to impede ongoing implementation of the Abortion Law Reform Act throughout the NSW Public Health System. 

WEL, together with the overwhelming majority of people across the state (irrespective of political preference) who supported the decriminalization of abortion, will be vigilant on this score.

The NSW Parliament has a number of Bills before it that could significantly affect the lives of women and girls in NSW. One Nation’s Education Amendment (Parental Rights in Education) Bill and related proposals to change public school policies and curriculum processes could have a devastating impact on respectful relationships, including consent and sexuality education. The Bill and related proposals cruelly target and marginalize gender non-conforming young people.   

One Nation’s Anti -Discrimination Amendment (Religious Freedom) Bill will, if enacted, restrict abortion and reproductive health care, including contraception support and advice, especially in rural and regional NSW. It will allow hierarchically run faith based charities which dominate community service provision in NSW to lawfully discriminate against employees and clients under the guise of religious freedom.

The Perrottet Government’s response to these Bills will be one critical marker of their support for women’s and rights and gender equality. 

Contact Mary O’Sullivan WEL NSW Coordinator 0419444889


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