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PM, Shortens find common ground on gender equality

February 14 2018 By Lisa Zilberpriver, Our Watch Media Manager

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has joined Leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten and Our Watch Ambassador Chloe Shorten in condemning gender inequality and violence against women, in an address at Parliament House this evening.

"We have an obligation as parents and grandparents to make sure our sons and grandsons grow up to respect the women in their lives," Mr Turnbull said, quoting Our Watch Ambassador Lucy Turnbull. 
"We are really changing Australia for the better and in doing so we are respecting the women and children that we love, the women and children that represent more than half of Australia, that we should protect. 
That change, that respect, that will make this a safer and a better country,” Mr Turnbull added. 
Our Watch Chair, Natasha Stott Despoja AM, welcomed the PM's comments, and took the opportunity to call for continued political action on gender inequality.
"Tonight, Our Watch is here to remind you that violence against women is not inevitable. It is preventable."
"The evidence shows gender inequality is the key driver of violence against women," Ms Stott Despoja added. 
She thanked the Prime Minister for supporting Our Watch's work, allowing the organisation to deliver evidence-based programs that address gender inequality in Australian schools, workplaces, sporting clubs and public spaces. 
"Gender inequality is at the core of this problem but it's also at the heart of the solution," she added. 
Ms Stott Despoja referenced recent Our Watch research into how people respond when they find themselves in the position of a bystander witnessing sexist behaviour.
The research found almost 50 per cent of Australians had witnessed and felt uncomfortable about a sexist action or remark in the past 12 months, but the vast majority did not know how to safely take action in the situation.
A concerning 21 per cent believed women are 'becoming too outspoken', and 18 per cent believed men make better political leaders than women and a further 22 per cent were undecided.
Our Watch Ambassador Chloe Shorten highlighted that rates of violence against women are still unacceptably high in this country, and acknowledged the role Our Watch is playing in changing that. 
"In 40 years, not nearly enough has changed. In comes Our Watch,"  Ms Shorten said. "We must never back away from our ambition - zero tolerance," she added.
Leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten agreed with the PM and Ms Shorten, saying that society is changing. 
"Chloe is right and Malcolm is right. We have begun to change the way we talk about violence," he said. Mr Shorten echoed the call for more political action to prevent violence by addressing gender inequality. 
"In this building, we have a privilege, we have a gift: to do more than talk - to make decisions," he added. 
"We here in this place, we have the opportunity to get to work on the solutions," he concluded. 
The event was co-hosted by the Parliamentarians Against Family Violence Friendship Group, headed by Tim Watts MP. 
Download key points from the research here.

Media contact:
Lisa Zilberpriver
0448 844 930
*If you cover this story, or any story regarding violence against women and children, please include the following tagline:

“If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, family or domestic violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000”
Access guides for reporting about violence against women and their children.
About Our Watch
Our Watch leads Australia's work to stop violence against women and their children before it starts. The organisation was created to drive nation-wide change in the culture, behaviours and attitudes that lead to violence against women and children.