Major cities in Australia held demonstrations on the 15th as part of the “Women’s Fight for Justice” (March4Justice) event. From Canberra to Sydney, from Melbourne to Brisbane, more than 100,000 women in more than 40 Australian cities took to the streets to protest gender-based violence and sexual harassment in the workplace, political institutions and judicial systems.
According to a report by The Australian on the 15th, the anti-sexual assault march in Canberra attracted tens of thousands of people on the lawn outside the parliament building on Monday. Higgins, a former Liberal Party staff member who previously publicly claimed that he had been raped by a male colleague in the parliamentary office of the Minister of Defense, gave a speech at the rally. She said, “This is not a political issue. It is a human issue. In the past few weeks, we have all learned how widespread gender violence is in this country. Now it is the leaders of the two parties who have stopped avoiding this issue and avoiding responsibility It’s time.”
The British “Guardian” stated that in addition to protests, the organizers had to submit two petitions to the government. A petition is broad and includes independent investigations into gender-based violence cases and full implementation of the recommendations of the Australian Human Rights Commission’s “Respect at Work” report. The second petition is more specific, asking the Morrison government to deal with Attorney General Porter’s rape accusations and to resign immediately.
According to the Australian newspaper, the organizers of the march urged participants in rallies across Australia to wear black clothes, masks, slogans and hand sanitizer. The majority of the parade were women, but they were of different races and ages. Many girls attended with their parents, but there were also mothers who came with their young sons. The crowd chanted “women will never be defeated when united.” The various slogans that appeared in the parade were very eye-catching: “Call for investigation”, “If you are not angry, you will not pay attention”, “I’m fed up” and so on.
According to reports, protest organizers invited government officials and parliamentarians to participate in the rally. However, Prime Minister Morrison, Deputy Prime Minister McCormack and Minister of Women Payne all refused to participate for various reasons. In view of this, the organizers of the anti-gender violence rally stated that they will not hold “closed-door meetings” with Morrison and Payne.
Later on the 15th, Morrison responded to the demonstrations outside the Parliament Building in Parliament, but his speech left many people confused. He first praised the demonstrators for expressing their demands in a peaceful manner, and then changed the front line and said, “Even now, not far away, such a parade will be shot by bullets, but in this country (Australia), it is not”. Green Party leader Banter sarcastically said on Twitter: “Morrison is going to say to today’s marchers: Let’s go happy without shooting you. It’s incredible. He really didn’t understand.”
Opinion polls show that allegations of sexual assault are affecting the approval rate of the Morrison government, and Morrison’s net approval rate has also fallen by 4 percentage points. Hughes, an expert on political branding at the Australian National University, said Morrison needs to be cautious not to think that the handling of the epidemic will automatically bring enough voter support to win the next election. He said that these allegations have left the government breathless, and it is difficult for any other policy to find a breakthrough.