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Speech: Girls Takeover Parliament

Speeches in Parliament
Mehreen Faruqi 14 Oct 2019

Girls Takeover Parliament is a fantastic initiative which allows young women from a wide range of backgrounds to access parliamentary processes which are so often limited to only the privileged few. I'm particularly excited this time to see so many women from diverse backgrounds taking over parliament. I've had the pleasure and privilege of hosting Manya Sinha in my office today. Manya has identified domestic violence as an issue that matters to young Australian women, especially those from a migrant and refugee background.

The following is in Manya's words:

The issue of domestic violence is a crucial issue for Australia's young women. Every week another woman is killed. One in three Australian women have experienced violence since the age of 15. Eighteen- to 24-year-old women experience the highest rates of domestic violence. Young women from migrant and refugee communities are increasingly being left behind in the government's domestic violence reforms and strategies. The government abandoned any attempt at helping these women, who are left most vulnerable. Legal services are overrun and funding is just not there. Migrant and refugee women often experience barriers to reaching out for help when affected by domestic violence because of their limited social and economic capital, including some who have been provided no knowledge of their rights.

The government has to be held accountable to protect the safety of young women in our community, whom this parliament is supposed to represent. I call on the government to remember their duty to the young women of Australia and take substantive action to fund programs tailored to migrant and refugee women affected by domestic violence. For every Parwinder Kaur, Syeda Nirupama Hossain and Preethi Reddy, there are many more cases that go unreported by the media.

Thank you so much, Manya, for raising this incredibly important issue in the Senate. It has been my privilege to share your words because, sadly, you can't today. So it is our duty to make sure that young women like Manya keep taking over parliament until our parliament looks like the streets and suburbs of our country.


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