Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk called on Prime Minister Scott Morrison on April 7 to convene a national women’s summit amid allegations of sexual assault and rape in politics.
“Now is the time for women’s voices around Australia to be heard,” Palaszczuk said at a press conference, urging for a summit to address “big issues in terms of women’s equality” in the country.
“This is really important to look at gender inequality, to look at economic inequality, to look at actions to address the gender pay gap, actions to address the superannuation gap, issues around addressing issues of affordable child care,” Palaszczuk said.
Palaszczuk said she would write to Morrison to raise her request and that she would also raise the matter at the national cabinet meeting on April 9.
Palaszczuk also urged other state and territory leaders to support her call for the summit.
Palaszczuk calls come in the wake of political fallout of Morrison’s handling of allegations of sexual assault and rape from several women, including former Liberal Staffer Brittany Higgins, who alleged that a colleague in the parliament raped her, and Queensland Health Minister Yvette D’Ath, who alleged she was groped in the state parliament.
“We saw the groundswell of support from women right across the nation with the rallies,” Palaszczuk said, referring to the nationwide protests sparked by the allegations.
“I honestly believe that if we are going to achieve equality in this country, then now is the time,” Palaszczuk said.
Social Services Minister Anne Ruston is already pursuing a national summit on violence against women, which was supposed to be held last May but was postponed due to the pandemic.