Canberra, March 15: Thousands of Australian women gathered across the country on Monday to protest against misogyny in the federal Parliament.
Protesters participated in more than 40 rallies, calling for an end to “sexism, misogyny, dangerous workplace cultures and lack of equality” in politics and the community at large as part of the ‘March4Justice’.
The movement, which organisers described as “the biggest uprising of women that Australia’s seen,” was established after former government adviser Brittany Higgins went public with allegations that she was raped in the Parliament House in 2019, and Attorney-General Christian Porter was accused of an earlier rape.
Addressing the rally in Canberra, Higgins said she was speaking out for the victims of sexual assault who could not.
“One out of every five women in Australia will be sexually assaulted or raped in their lifetime. If you are a woman of colour, the statistics are even higher.
“I was raped inside Parliament House by a colleague and for so long it felt like the people around me did not care about what happened because of what it might mean for them.
“They were my social network, colleagues, and my family. As suddenly they treated me differently. I was not a person who had just gone through a lot of changes, I was a political problem,” she said.
Earlier on Monday, Janine Hendry, an organiser of the event, turned down an invitation from Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Foreign Minister Marise Payne to meet behind closed doors.
“We have already come to the front door. Now it is up to the government to cross the threshold and come to us. We will not be meeting behind closed doors,” she said.
Morrison said on Sunday that he could not accept an open invite to all federal politicians to attend the Canberra event because he was busy.