The Politics of Social Change can be seen in action through the work of Fair Agenda. Fair Agenda is a community of 37,000 Australians campaigning for a fair and equal future for women and here is their report on their achievements in 2020.
“2020 has been a uniquely hard and exhausting year. As we approach the end of it, most of us are ready to put it in our rear view mirror and never look back. But before we do, it’s important that we take a moment to acknowledge what we achieved together this year – because even though 2020 has challenged many of us like never before, our community continued to pull together to advocate for the values we hold dear. And together, we secured crucial wins for a more fair and equal future.
Despite it all, we still managed to focus a spotlight on policies hurting our communities and to build momentum for solutions. Together we sent thousands of emails to decision-makers; shared personal testimonies; amplified the experiences of people impacted by harmful systems; secured media headlines to hold decision-makers accountable in key moments; shared crucial analysis; and engaged community members across the country with our calls for action. And the results of our collective efforts speak for themselves!
• Alongside partners like Equality Australia and Democracy in Colour, our community drew attention to the expected harmful impacts of the proposed Religious Discrimination Bill. We raised awareness of, and mobilised to push back against, its potential to increase obstructions to reproductive healthcare access and to open avenues for discrimination. And together with our partners, we managed to drum up enough concern amongst the community and politicians that the first and second versions of the Religious Discrimination Bill didn’t go ahead.
• When it was revealed that the Morrison Government weren’t planning to continue funding for the WESNET Safe Phones program – which provides hundreds of women affected by family violence with safe technology each month – we worked with service providers and survivor advocates to oppose the cuts. Together, we kept the issue on the agenda: shining a spotlight on these cuts and other areas where the Morrison Government needs to act to keep women safe; flooding government representatives with emails about funding of services; reaching tens of thousands of people with the campaign’s message on social media; and calling the Government out when their commitments fell short of what’s needed. And together with campaign partners we secured an extension for the program’s funding – keeping safe phones in the hands of victim-survivors at critical times.
• When the pandemic hit, our community continued to build on years of advocacy for proper funding of family violence services by collaborating with family violence experts to support their calls for a response to the family violence impacts of the pandemic. In response to the collective efforts of survivor advocates, services, policy experts and communities like ours the Morrison Government committed an additional $150 million “to support Australians experiencing domestic, family or sexual violence due to fallout from coronavirus”.
• Finally, after over a year of campaigning, emailing, calling, and sharing testimonies to show support for patient protections (and a final surge to fight off a damaging amendment) we saw the passage of safe zone protections in South Australia – to ensure patients and staff don’t have to endure harassment and intimidation at clinics providing abortion care.
And our campaigning efforts didn’t stop there! We also worked to lay the groundwork and built momentum for improved access to reproductive healthcare in SA and WA. These states are both expected to face final votes to decriminalise abortion care and create safe access zones respectively, in 2021. And we’re going to need to hit the ground running to ensure that anti-choice forces don’t pressure politicians to delay, block or water down these crucial reforms.
In the new year we’re also going to continue building on our community’s ongoing campaigns to improve prevention and responses to gendered violence, and ensure everyone has access to the support they need to build safer futures. We know that there has been an increase in gendered violence and it’s going to be more important than ever that we’re holding governments accountable for fully funding family violence services, and supporting victim-survivors to be safe.
Our movement’s impact is made possible by people like you chipping in what they can, when they can, to win change on the issues that matter to all of us. Can you chip in to help make sure our community has the resources it needs to hit the ground running in 2021? Click here to make a donation now.
Fair Agenda is a movement made strong by tens of thousands of people contributing to our impact in the ways they can, when they can. We know that 2020 has been a challenging year for many in our community, so if you’re not able to contribute financially at this time, we totally understand. Giving financially is just one of the many ways that members make our movement and campaigns strong.
Thank you for all the ways you’re contributing to a fairer and more just future, we look forward to working with you to drive more impact in 2021.
Stacey and Renee for Fair Agenda”
For more information go to Fair Agenda