WEL NSW Annual Report 2019-2020

Read or download the full report with images HERE.

WOMEN’S ELECTORAL LOBBY NSW ANNUAL REPORT 2019-20

INTRODUCTION

This report covers the period September 2019 (when we held our last Annual General Meeting) to September 2020. WEL NSW’s core campaigns focus on the big issues holding women back - we want to end violence against women and ensure women have access to decent housing that meets their needs. WEL NSW plays a central coordination role - in the last 12 months we led WEL’s national work,  made robust submissions to parliamentary and other  inquiries, met with a range of organisations and people working on issues WEL is involved in to identify common cause and shared actions, and participated in public events. Our social media reached a growing audience, painting a picture of how women’s issues intersect and benefit from open and broad discussion. 

This has been a year in which we, in coalition with other organisations, have made some progress toward achieving our objectives. And we are still a long way from achieving a world in which women and men lead, participate and are rewarded equally, sharing the paid and unpaid work fairly. We welcomed the recognition that sexual harassment and sexual assault are still pervasive, in the award of the Sydney Peace Prize on 14 November to the #MeToo Movement, represented at the awards by Tarana Bourke and Tracey Spicer. And the comprehensive report by the Sex Discrimmination Commissioner, Respect@Work: Sexual Harassment National Inquiry Report 2020, following extensive consultations and submissions.

This has been a year of immense disruption and devastation for many, with bushfires, drought, floods, heatwaves, and the COVID19 global pandemic. The effects for individuals,  households, businesses and other organisations are likely to be long term. WEL’s work on building and engaging membership, securing donations, meeting with politicians and other decision makers, holding fundraisers and other public events, and networking and building relationships with other organisations has been curtailed.

WEL has been very concerned about how COVID19 and government responses to it have been affecting women. The introduction of JobKeeker and the boost to JobSeeker, free childcare for three months, boosts in funding for domestic and family violence services (still well below what is needed),  have benefited many women. But many women missed out on that support, as casuals with under 12 months, or overseas students, those on temporary visas, or unpaid carers without income support. Women on disability or aged pension did not receive the supplement. Childcare workers were the first (so far only) workers to lose the JobKeeper payment. Free childcare has been cancelled. 

Federal and State budgets have been deferred to October and will be heavily affected by expenditure required for the pandemic, with probable effects on government spending priorities. 

The worldwide mobilisation of the Black Lives Matter movement showed widespread rejection of racism and police brutality, and demands for recognition of the human rights of indigenous people, black people, and people of colour. WEL supports Black Lives Matter, and the Uluru Statement from the Heart. 

Through WEL Australia, we participate in two national women’s alliances: the Equality Rights Alliance (ERA) and Economic Security for Women. The alliances bring together a wide range of women’s organisations, to share information about their plans, campaigns and activities including identifying opportunities to work together. The alliances also prepare submissions for endorsement by members, thus sharing the workload and extending the impact of the submissions. The organisations provide input for Australia’s national reporting to the United Nations, including on Australia’s progress on implementing the Sustainable Development Goals. 

This year, WEL Australia elected a new national convenor, Emma Davidson, and adopted a new constitution. WELA endorsed the Non-Government Organisations Beijing+25 report, although the UN Committee on the Status of Women meeting ultimately was not held because of the pandemic. WELA began planning a national conference, now on hold.

WEL cannot achieve our goal of gender equality alone. We deeply appreciate the opportunities we have had in the last 12 months to partner with specialist organisations, individual experts and the brave women willing to share their stories, because genuine collaboration is the only pathway to enduring social change. Our annual report names and thanks some of the many people WEL has worked alongside this year. 

 

Philippa Hall

WEL NSW Convenor

CAMPAIGNS

Women Ageing Well Campaign

WEL has a longstanding commitment to advocating for better housing for women. Our past work has focussed particularly on crisis and long-term housing for women who have experienced domestic and family violence, and housing for older women who are unable to access housing they can afford.

Women’s overall economic and other inequality creates disadvantage in accessing housing, including housing insecurity and homelessness. Women’s economic disadvantage and poverty result from multiple lifetime factors, including gaps in pay, wealth and superannuation and women’s greater responsibility for caring for children and other family members and the impacts of domestic and other gendered violence. Women at particular risk of housing instability and homelessness include women in a range of situations who are on low incomes and/or experience other disadvantages, such as single older women, single mothers and their children, young women, women with disabilities, Aboriginal women, Torres Strait Islander women and culturally and linguistically diverse  women.

WEL’s 2019 Annual General Meeting heard from a panel of speakers on women’s affordable housing and homelessness. Following this, WEL started making plans for a campaign, Women Ageing Well, about the problem of poverty and homelessness among older women. An increasing number of older people are experiencing housing insecurity and impoverishment in retirement, with women being worst affected. Single older women are more likely than single older men and couples to be private renters or still paying off a mortgage and are one of the fastest growing groups experiencing homelessness as a result of a lifetime legacy of economic disadvantage including from domestic violence, combined with the lack of available and affordable housing.  Older women are the fastest growing cohort of homeless people in Australia, with the numbers aged over 55 increasing by 31% between 2011 and 2016, and the numbers aged between 65 and 74 increasing by 51% in that time. In NSW the rate of increase is even more shocking: the number of women aged 55 and over experiencing homelessness increased by 48% and the number aged between 65 and 74 experiencing homelessness increased by 78%. Most of these older women have had a conventional housing history and are homeless for the first time. They are homeless because they are unable to access housing they can afford.

We created a campaign strategy, and commenced making contact with others who are also concerned about older women’s homelessness, and have been active in this area. We joined the Ageing on the Edge NSW group comprising over forty other non-government organisations, charities and individuals including the Women’s Housing company, Older Women’s Network NSW, Uniting NSW, Council of the Ageing NSW and Mission Australia. We are also connected through Ageing on the Edge to the national Housing for the Aged Action Group. In February we attended a meeting with Bronnie Taylor, Minister for Women, with other nAgeing on the Edge members and discussed our concerns. WEL also met with Marjorie O’Neill NSW Member for Coogee at her request to discuss older women’s homelessness.

In April WEL initiated a Ministerial Briefing to the Premier and the Ministers for Families, Communities and Disability Services; Seniors; Prevention of Domestic Violence; and Women on behalf of Ageing on the Edge. While we supported the State government’s move to accommodate people sleeping rough, we know that many older women’s homelessness is hidden.  We warned that the dangers posed by the pandemic pose a special health threat to vulnerable older people and their strategies of house sitting, sleeping in their cars, staying temporarily with others or travelling in vans may either be unavailable during lockdown or pose additional risks.  We raised the need for urgent measures for older people’s homelessness in the COVID crisis. We also raised the ongoing housing issues facing older women. We have had some response but not sufficient so far, and we are continuing to press these issues.

 

The immediate and long-term effect of COVID-19 on younger generations of women and on gender equality

Women’s economic and housing disadvantage has now been compounded by the gendered economic and other effects of COVID-19. Women have been impacted by COVID-19 in multiple ways, and their short and long-term financial and housing risks have surged. The pandemic’s effects increase the gender pay gap, the superannuation gap, women’s unemployment and underemployment, the workload of women who are still employed, women’s caring responsibilities and the prevalence of domestic violence. Women’s exacerbated economic and social inequality during COVID-19 will impact on future generations of women and on gender equality.

In mid-2020, as the negative impact on women became clearer, we decided to broaden the campaign, because of the long-term implications of the economic and other impacts of the pandemic on women’s short and long-term housing security. Some WEL volunteers have been helping with setting up the campaign, including building a database of contacts and collecting data about impacts of the virus on women’s economic situation. However, running an effective campaign includes quite specialised work and is time consuming. So we have been fundraising to support this campaign, and we are making the best of all the resources available to us. We are currently revising our strategy to expand the Women Ageing Well campaign to take account of the impact of coronavirus on women of all ages, It is becoming clear that women's ability to be financially secure for their lifetime is dramatically impacted by COVID’s economic fallout. At the same time, we are continuing to advocate strongly for the housing needs of older women

WEL supports the Everybody’s Home campaign to improve Australia’s housing system. In particular, we believe building additional social housing will simultaneously provide homes for disadvantaged women and economic stimulus, both much-needed. The NSW government is developing a NSW Housing Strategy for the next 20 years and has released a discussion paper for consultation. WEL made a submission on the discussion paper. We drew particular attention to the discussion paper’s failure to acknowledge housing as a gendered issue, despite the research and data now available to show how women’s overall economic and other inequality and the impact of domestic violence create specific housing disadvantages for women.

Ending violence against women and girls (EVAW) 

An informal EVAW meeting was held on 5th December with the aim of achieving a united approach with DV peak organisations on campaign priorities and tactics. There was a very positive and promising discussion with Hayley Foster, CEO of Women’s Safety NSW, formerly the Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service. As a result, EVAW members have continued their collaboration with Women’s Safety throughout the year.

WEL NSW representatives Philippa Hall, Josefa Green, Heather Smith, Menaka Cooke and Jane Bullen attended the vigil in Martin Place held on 25th November for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, side by side with Women’s Safety NSW. 

Conferences and Consultations

On behalf of EVAW, Jozefa Sobski attended the DV Conference, Research into Action held on the 27th November, 2019 in Fairfield. It was attended by government funded service provider representatives, numerous CALD organisations and other not for profits. There were over three hundred participants. Tina Dixon from the Australian Women Against Violence Alliance (AWAVA) chaired the conference and speakers included: Amani Haydar, artist and lawyer, Dr Michael Flood from QUT member of the Men Engage network who discussed Our Watch work on primary prevention, Dr Alissar El-Murr, a senior research officer from the Australian Institute of Family Studies in Victoria. Mark Speakman, NSW Attorney –General and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, outlined NSW Government initiatives as well as proudly re-announcing the state’s decision to join Our Watch.

EVAW members were also invited to the Stakeholder Consultation organised by Trish Doyle, Shadow Minister for Women and the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence at Parliament House on 10th October, 2019. This consultation addressed major issues faced by domestic violence service providers. The focus of presentations and discussion was on some key questions: What is working in the system currently? What is not working? Where are the gaps? Do we have case studies which highlight the issues? Are there any best practice examples? How can government funding transparency be improved? The session was a briefing for Ms Doyle, newly appointed to the portfolio, as well as providing an opportunity for networking for all participants.

Three members of EVAW visited the Forensic Medical Unit based in Blacktown Hospital and were presented with an overview of its work in documenting domestic violence  injury. The service to 2018 had examined 672 patients. It operates 7.30 am to midnight Monday to Friday in conjunction with a dedicated Integrated Violence Prevention and Response Service. It is staffed by medical personnel with post-graduate qualifications in clinical forensic medicine and works closely with Child Protection staff. WEL supported the replication and extension of this service as critical to improving conviction rates. 

National Submissions – Family Law and Family, Domestic and Sexual Violence

With the announcement by the Prime Minister on 17th September, 2019 of a wide-ranging inquiry into the Family Law System by a Joint Parliamentary Committee chaired by Kevin Andrews with Pauline Hanson, national women’s organisations launched a media campaign criticising this further wide-ranging inquiry following so closely upon the release of the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC)’s report in March. 

EVAW through WEL Australia (WELA) joined in this criticism on the grounds that it could add little to the eleven inquiries held between 2001 and 2017 and the comprehensive report from the ALRC which had made 60 recommendations. These addressed some of the core issues faced by the current system: the need for an integrated court response; more support for the resolution of disputes outside the court system and more rigorous case management with advice on needed amendments to the Family Law Act, 1975.  

WELA focussed its submission to the Inquiry on three terms of reference addressing jurisdictional gaps, the extension, expansion and adequate funding of the Family Advocacy and Support Service (FASS) and improving the performance of legal and other professionals. 

At the public hearing on 15th March, 2020, Cat Gander and Jozefa Sobski took some questions on notice on who should undertake the training and on how many hours of training are needed by the professions. We made a further submission to the Inquiry answering these questions and sent an addendum from the NSW-based Education Centre against Violence (ECAV). 

EVAW through WELA made a second submission to the House of Representatives Inquiry into family, domestic and sexual violence focussed on WEL’s recent domestic violence  policies and areas where we had a campaign track record. This Inquiry had wide-ranging terms of reference and was announced on 30th May, 2020, in a response to a dramatic increase in domestic violence in the wake of COVID-19 restrictions. Jointly sponsored by Anne Ruston, Minister for Social Services and Marise Payne, Minister for Women, the inquiry offered an opportunity for women’s organisations and domestic violence service providers to address the impact of natural disasters and the pandemic health impacts and restrictions on women’s and children’s safety. 

WELA’s submission criticised the lack of strong and consistent national leadership for full implementation of the Fourth National Action Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and Children, 2019-2022 and the failure to fully fund strategies and programs advocated by the Plan. We pointed to the pre-budget submissions of AWAVA and other peak women’s organisations for levels of funding required to make a difference to the social scourge of violence against women, and WELA’s own campaign for the $1 billion Women’s and Children’s Safety Program. 

Jenny Forster, Jozefa Sobski, and Philippa Hall at the International Women’s Day March

The submission also noted the need for investment in social housing as well as funding for women’s refuges and emergency accommodation. It referred to the impacts of the COVID–19 pandemic and the need for cultural differences to be acknowledged and integrated into policy and program design for prevention, early intervention and crisis support services. 

All EVAW’s work during the year was undertaken in conjunction with the Housing and Homelessness policy and campaign work.

Reproductive rights

WEL, Family Planning NSW and Women’s Health NSW helped achieve a historic victory for women with the Governor’s assent to the NSW Abortion Law Reform Act 2019 on 3 October  last year.  The legislation removing abortion from the Crimes Act (1900) had finally passed on the voices on the morning of September 25 2019. Together with MPs who had initiated and steered the Bill through both houses, the seventy two members and supporters of the NSW Pro-Choice Alliance  acclaimed the  end of an era where women could be imprisoned for seeking an abortion and doctors charged with undertaking abortion. 

Campaign lessons 

WEL  has absorbed many lessons from the campaign and discussed these at the Executive Committee . They include the importance of building and maintaining trusted expert alliances, taking the long view in strategy  (we started planning the campaign in 2016), the value of good timing with a view to winning,  and the need to build capacity  to support professional campaigning approaches.

Leadership 

WEL acknowledges the leadership and inspiration our member and founder Wendy McCarthy AO (pictured below) provided the campaign. Wendy supported and helped drive the campaign from start to finish. Many of WEL’s campaign supporters and partners saw the victory as completion of a struggle for decriminalization   that had started with the beginnings of the women’s movement in the nineteen sixties and drew strength from this history.  Wendy embodied that memory and history.

Events following the victory

On 9 December, following our victory Alex Greenwich MP,  who on 1 August 2019  had first moved the Bill and had convened the cross parliamentary Committee,  hosted an event for supporters at Parliament House.  In  her 2019 Bruce Childs Lecture delivered on December 4, Penny Sharpe MP gave a parliamentary ‘insiders’ account  of the ‘at times’  tortuous passage of the Bill through the Parliament. WEL worked with the Opera House to  stage a reproductive rights session on 8 March 2020 at the All About Women Conference for International Women’s Day at the Sydney Opera House. The session sold out. Wendy McCarthy put questions to MPs  Alex Greenwich, Penny Sharpe, Mehreen Faruqi and Trevor Kahn on their reflections following the passage of the Bill.

Current developments

With the assent to the Act  NSW Heath immediately implemented its  provisions. WEL and our partner organisations remain vigilant as new threats to reproductive health access emerge. As this annual report goes to press Family Planning NSW is reporting on the  serious  impact that restrictions to Medicare support for Telehealth is having on people seeking to access reproductive health services in rural, regional and outer metropolitan NSW. Proposed Religious Discrimination Bills at a Federal and state level also carry grave implications for reproductive health access, with the potential to undermine the duty of conscientiously objecting doctors to refer patients onto a non objecting doctor or health practioner. WEL is monitoring these disturbing developments closely.

Equal remuneration

WEL supported the campaign by the Australian Council for Social Services and the National Foundation for Australian Women for supplementation of funding to non-government organisations for the equal remuneration order made by the Fair Work Commission in 2012 following a historic equal pay case for social and community workers, in which WEL made submissions. While State and Territory governments have committed to the supplementary funding, the federal government has not yet done so.

FUNDRAISING AND EVENTS

Our fundraising and events have been curtailed by the COVID19 restrictions.

We held a Halloween fundraising -party on 30 October, inviting people to come as their favourite feminist. Those who participated enjoyed meeting and chatting with other feminists, as well as the refreshments. We held our end-of-year celebration as a picnic at Watt Park North Sydney on 1 December. Another great opportunity to meet, chat, and enjoy refreshments.

We were planning a Trivia Night for 13 March (thanks to everyone who bought tickets) but it could not proceed because of the restrictions. We did go ahead with an online Trivia event on 29 May. Twelve teams participated and some money was raised, while the goal of having a good time was well met. Zoe McClure ran a well-received online event offering training on Persuasive Conversations, on 23 May.

We explored a range of grants programs, and made some applications. We also developed a framework of principles to guide decision making about which grants we should apply for.

We participated in the International Women’s Day March on 7 March, and afterward ran a stall (with Women’s Safety NSW)  in Belmore Park to promote WEL’s campaigns, and offer WEL’s merchandise (bags, tshirts, keep cups etc.).

In June, we carried out our end of financial year fund-raising appeal to raise funds for our main campaign and for WEL generally.

WEL is now working to engage members and supporters in a program of regular giving, to help us achieve a more sustainable financial position. Please do everything you can to encourage people to become regular donors. WEL depends completely on contributions from members and supporters.

DEVELOPING WEL

We conducted a Volunteer Information Session on 22 October 2019. We are currently developing projects with students from Macquarie University, including a project on exploring the impact on women of COVID19 and responses to it .

We established a Finance and Risk Committee to monitor and advise on WEL’s financial position and strategy, comprising Heather Smith, Margaret Mackie, Lorraine Slade, and Julie Mahoney (chair).

We continued to consider and improve WEL’s operations, through new processes related to succession planning, and the composition and roles of the executive .

We have completed our COVID19 plan, and registered as a COVID19 compliant organisation.

SUBMISSIONS AND REPORTS

Retirement Incomes 

WEL prepared a submission to the Callaghan Inquiry into Retirement Incomes, and endorsed the submission to that Inquiry prepared by Economic Security for Women Alliance. 

Religious Discrimination

Federal and State Bills represent a worrying new tactic by opponents of women’s rights and equality 

Opponents of women’s rights and equality and rights for others ( including those of gender diverse people) are increasingly using religious freedom legislation as a vehicle to  hinder progress we have made in protections against discrimination. Recent  legislation  on   reproductive rights and marriage equality is also a target. In 0ctober 2019 and January 2020 WEL made a submission to the Commonwealth Attorney-General on  the first and second  exposure drafts of the Government’s Federal Religious Discrimination Bill. Also in late January Mary O’Sullivan represented WEL on a Public Interest Advocacy Centre hosted expert panel on the Bill. WEL also sent a letter to the Attorney General and the Minister for Women outlining our concerns about the potential impacts of the Bill on women and requesting the opportunity to meet to discuss these issues. Media releases on the issues raised in our submissions were also distributed. The Government has delayed the Bill’s introduction due to the Covid crisis but we understand that they will introduce it in the future.

At the state level WEL is now working closely with allied organisations on  approaches to a related One Nation led NSW Anti-Discrimination Amendment (Religious Freedoms and Equality) Bill 2020.   On August 21st  we lodged a major submission opposing the Bill.  WEL is very concerned that the NSW Government  has supported a Parliamentary  inquiry into this One Nation inspired   Bill, through establishment of  a Joint Select Committee, chaired by a Government MP. We will be seeking opportunities to point out the ways in which the provisions of the Bill could negatively affect women’s reproductive rights  via extended provision for conscientious objection, women’s employment in faith based charities, women from minority faiths, employers and unions efforts to support inclusive workplaces and the current protections provided by the Anti-Discrimination Act itself.

NSW Housing Discussion Paper

WEL made a submission to the NSW Housing Strategy Consultation process. In WEL’s submission, we expressed surprise that the Discussion Paper does not address the needs of women in particular nor does it disaggregate data on housing disadvantage by gender, given that women’s housing disadvantage has been a matter of public discussion for some time and the subject of a number of research reports. We also noted that women’s relative disadvantage and poverty, exacerbated by the impact of COVID-19, mean that they are over-represented in those facing housing stress and homelessness and, in some areas, face particular challenges. The discussion paper does not canvas the specific needs of women in any detail nor proposes options for meeting those needs. WEL’s submission emphasised the need for a sustained increase in social housing, starting now and continuing over the next decades, along with strategies which address needs more specific to women.

POLICY

WEL continued developing and updating its policies, and endorsing policies we support that were put forward by other organisations, and publishing policies on our website. We continued our support of the Uluru Statement from the Heart. We continued to contribute to the Advisory Group for the Public Interest Advocacy Centre’s Review of the Anti-Discrimination Act. 

AMPLIFYING PUBLIC COMMUNICATION AND MEDIA PARTICIPATION

WEL has increased its participation in advocacy communication for women’s public policy across Australia’s media landscape, by using its social media and direct communication to members and our connected and supportive community activity over the past 12 months. Our participation in media interviews on news and current affairs programs was directly tied to issues based advocacy and the significance the media placed on WEL’s subject matter experts.

The communication strategy and weekly activity has supported priority lobbying issues and campaigns, while maintaining an ongoing presence of WEL’s perspectives and support of partner organisations and people of influence.

General communication has included a daily content program for owned social media platforms with the highest audiences reach in a single week topping 315,000 on Facebook, with a weekly audience reach averaging 7,400. This is amplified by WEL’s increasing use of Instagram to communicate directly with younger community members, especially about campaigns, opportunities for support and involvement across events and advocacy for hot topic issues on women’s gender inequality, women’s health and issues impacting daily life.

WEL has also needed to work closely with staff and volunteers to manage targeted attacks by trolls who disagree with WEL’s advocacy position on key topics, mostly those related to women’s health and domestic and family violence. Depending on the topic this activity has been abusive, offensive and violent, and immediate measures were put in place to protect, report and manage these attacks. 

Twitter is used by WEL as a political and influencer tool to promote WEL and its trusted community of supporters and colleagues content, and to respond to content intent on damaging the progress of women’s rights advocacy. With up to 15 posts per day in some targeted weeks, this platform connects WEL’s opinions and expertise to individuals, advocacy groups and politicians directly and by association. Target campaigning using Twitter has been adopted for high profile issues such as Reproductive rights, Religious Freedom, and in the context of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on women across housing, financial, health insecurity, and the serious social impacts of increased violence, job insecurity, and lack of access to basic social services like childcare, and Medicare telehealth services for reproductive and sexual health.

WEL has also spent the past 12 months building its database and outreach to strengthen recognition and support via its necessary fundraising appeals and campaigns. Over the past six months campaigns have been developed to raise funds through end of financial year appeals, and regular giving programs.  

WEL has also worked closely with the women’s alliances and partner organisation to build communication strength through a collective approach to resources, messaging and focussed efforts across the above issues. This activity is still in the planning stage as the response to COVID rapidly evolves, and will evolve as WEL works to build a volunteer communication team to bolster this important part of WEL’s advocacy.

Of significance is the launch of the Women Ageing Well campaign late in 2019 as WEL’s next high profile campaign for women. This campaign was initially focussed on older women, in response to the devastating reality of homelessness and housing insecurity for a growing number of women in NSW. The communication aspects of this campaign focussed on building a community of interest online and across our social platforms, while the campaign has worked in the background to build a strong coalition of social service and women’s rights organisations to work together as a coalition. In response to the COVID pandemic’s impact on all adult women’s housing security, WEL expanded the campaign and is in the process of building this campaign with partner organisations. WEL is committed to ensuring that women are not discarded by governments in policy and investment responses.

The communication challenges for 2020-21 for WEL will be to increase the communication capacity and capability of the organisation to meet the need, as well as supporting the need to advocate in a collaborative manner with like minded organisations to lobby for better outcomes for women, while maintaining support and recognition for WEL as a leader and advocate for women’s equality. WEL is looking to increase its community to include diverse and highly active activists who can amplify WEL’s expertise and connect the call to action to broader audiences and communities that reflect WEL mission and principles. 

This year, a social media action team was recruited, to amplify WEL’s reach and voice with its twitter, facebook and instagram accounts.

WEL developed its Feminist Book Clubs, which met face to face when that was still possible, and moved online because of COVID-19 restrictions. The Facebook group continues. WEL has been posting on Facebook a playlist of feminist songs contributed by members and supporters, in the interests of cheering people up a bit during this crisis. 

MEETINGS

Our ability to meet with MPs and other decisionmakers was constrained by the current restrictions.

In February we attended a meeting with Bronnie Taylor, Minister for Women, with other Ageing on the Edge members and discussed our concerns. We met with Marjorie O’Neill MP on 21 February to discuss WEL’s campaign on housing and homelessness.

We met with Ms Kessy Sawang on 25 November. Ms Sawang is First Secretary to Hon Richard Maru, Member for Yangoru-Saussia, PNG, to discuss strategies for women’s empowerment and leadership.

We also met with Male Champions of Change to discuss possible areas of mutually supportive work.

TREASURER’S REPORT 2019-20

WELNSW acknowledges with gratitude the ongoing support of the Council of the City of Sydney and the Older Women’s Network through their provision of rent-free accommodation.

Overall Income in 2019/2020 was $76,562, a substantial decrease of $25,111 (or 25%) from the previous financial year.   Membership revenue of $10,930 decreased by $5,495 (or 33%) compared with the previous financial year.  

Donations of $23,018 (excluding the Reproductive Rights Campaign donations) were received during the year.   No donation was received from WEL Australia this financial year as the previous capitation fee arrangement is no longer in operation.

Substantial donations were again received throughout the year for the WELNSW’s Reproductive Rights Campaign ($28,432) and employment of the Campaign Coordinator continued through the 2019/20 financial year until the successful conclusion of the Campaign in October 2019.  WELNSW wishes to thank all those who participated and assisted.

WELNSW’s preferred donor fund with the National Foundation for Australian Women allows donors to donate into this fund and receive tax concessions.   This year the fund was again accessed more often by donors and WELNSW thanks them for their support of our campaigns.

Additional income of $9,023 was received in the form of a COVID-19 business Cash Flow Boost from the Australian Federal Government.

Overall Expenditure of $105,362 was slightly less than for the previous financial year. However 2019/2020 expenditure exceeded income by $29,300, a substantially greater loss than the previous financial year. Extra costs were incurred with the additional employment of a Fundraising Coordinator for more than half of the year. The overall loss for the year is due to lesser income for the year which can attributed in part to the effect of COVID-19.

The Executive Committee remains committed to a strong online presence for WEL, employing a part time staff member to maintain our online position.

WELNSW finished 2019/2020 with a cash position of $17,539 (due in part to the Cash Flow Boost) and investments of $91,984.

On behalf of the Executive Committee I would like to thank Jann Skinner for undertaking the role of Honorary Auditor for WELNSW.  I would also like to thank her for her support and advice.

Margaret Mackie
Treasurer
16 September 2020

 

WEL MEMBERS AND SUPPORTERS

In September 2019, Sky Anderson joined us as Fundraising Coordinator, and Zoe McClure started as Membership, Engagement and Fundraising Coordinator, and we warmly welcomed them. Sky left WEL in March 2020, and we wish her well. 

The WEL NSW Executive is Philippa Hall (Convenor), Jozefa Sobski, Mary O’Sullivan, Lorraine Slade, Jane Bullen (Deputy Convenor), Menaka Cooke, Margaret Mackie (Treasurer), Julie Mahoney, Jenny Muir and Josefa Green. Heather Smith, Rachel Francois and Sandy Killick  left the Executive during the year. WEL acknowledges and appreciates their diverse and valued contributions. Jann Skinner carries out the role of Honorary Auditor, and Jenny Forster is our Public Officer, and WEL appreciates their contributions and work.

WEL continues to strive to be an inclusive, effective, and relevant feminist lobby group. We are committed to ensuring that WEL has a diverse appeal so that it can rightly represent women from a range of backgrounds. We rely on the support of our members. Financial, in-kind and practical support is vital to our flourishing into the future.

The Executive acknowledges and appreciates the support and contributions of members and supporters. They ensure the organisation can continue as a feminist, non-profit, self-funded, non-party political lobby group dedicated to creating a society where women’s participation and potential are unrestricted, acknowledged and respected and where we can all share equally in society’s responsibilities and rewards. 


Women’s Electoral Lobby NSW Inc.
8-10 Victoria Street, Newtown, NSW 2042  
ABN: 50 242 525 012
EMAIL:  wel@welnsw.org.au                     
WEBSITE:  http://www.wel.org.au

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