Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Thursday, 10 November 2016
Page: 2491

Senator WATERS (QueenslandCo-Deputy Leader of the Australian Greens) (14:28): I rise to speak to the motion, but also to talk directly to women and girls around Australia who are watching on with sheer revulsion at the election of Donald Trump to the White House and who are wondering how on earth a man caught on tape bragging about sexual assault can ascend to the highest office in the world. I want to say to them that I share what they are feeling. I, too, worry about what sort of future awaits my daughter and all of our children. I feel deep dismay that a man who treats women like objects for his own satisfaction will soon assume the mantle of the presidency of the United States. I feel the fear about what this will mean for women who are already facing structural discrimination, controls on their right to choose and the everyday risks of being subjected to sexual harassment and assault. I feel the uncertainty about what this means for our common future on a planet that is already racked by dangerous global warming and environmental injustice that we know hits women, especially women in the poorest nations, the hardest.

People are saying Donald Trump's rise will embolden the sexists, the racists, the bigots and the homophobes. It is so incredibly important to stand up to those elements in our society and call them out, and that is what we Greens intend to do. Trump's rise will also energise everyone who stands for justice, compassion, equality and love. To defeat this particular brand of hate and intolerance, we need a powerful movement that unites calls for gender equality, racial justice, environmental justice and a fair society for every Australian. Our movement must reject the failures of free market chaos that has left ordinary people behind while making corporations and big polluters even richer, just as it must reject sexism, racism and homophobia. The conservative elements in the One Nation Party and those like Mr George Christensen and Senator Cory Bernardi, who have Malcolm Turnbull under the thumb, think this is their moment. They are wrong and this is our moment to prove to them that they are wrong.

The US and Australian are different places. We have different values, a different history and different conditions. For all of that, women in Australia still face similar rubbish, and the experience of our first female Prime Minister and the everyday lives of many women around the country are a sad testimony to that. But I also say this: yesterday, while millions of Americans voted for Donald Trump, others lined up to place stickers that read 'I voted' on a gravestone in Rochester, New York.

A government senator interjecting

Senator WATERS: That grave belongs to the suffragette Susan B Anthony, who less than a 150 years ago was arrested simply for daring to vote. To the women of Australia, I commiserate with you, but I also have hope.

Senator Back interjecting

The PRESIDENT: On my right. Senator Back.

Senator WATERS: Yes, there is more work to be done, but we can stand together and we can take heart in how far we have come. We can persist when old white men interject in the Senate and we can claim our equality.