Publication

AWL has today written to Prime Minister Scott Morrison to register its concerns about recent allegations made against Attorney General, Christian Porter MP and Minister Alan Tudge MP on ABC's 4 Corners program. As Australia's peak body for women lawyer organisations, AWL and its members were alarmed to learn of the allegations against, Mr Porter, given his position as the First Law Officer of the Crown. The ABC 4 Corners investigation also infers that there is a broader pattern of behaviour by MPs, including the Attorney General, of abusing their positions and engaging in inappropriate workplace behaviour with staff. In circumstances where AWL has staunchly advocated against sexual harassment and discrimination in the legal profession, and in a year where we have already seen a plethora of allegations about sexual harassment from a former High Court Judge, it is incredibly disheartening to hear allegations that our Attorney General has modelled such behaviour throughout university, as a prosecutor and in his current office. AWL has also called on the Prime Minister to consider taking steps to consider a review of the relevant policy, conducting an independent culture review and should any allegations of sexism or inappropriate relationships be substantiated, that serious consideration is given to whether the Attorney General is an appropriate person to hold that office. You can read the entire letter HERE.  ...

AWL has made a submission to the Attorney General's department advocating against the following proposed Bills: Religious Discrimination Bill 2019 Religious Discrimination (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2019 Human Rights Legislation Amendment (Freedom of Religious) Bill 2019 AWL is particularly concerned that the draft Bill, if enacted, would compromise: access to healthcare for women, on the basis that medical practitioners, nurse practitioners and pharmacists may refuse to treat women on the basis of the women's religious beliefs. This is particularly so in respect of women’s health needs in relation to contraception, abortion, and fertility services such as assisted reproductive treatment, and even more so for women in remote and regional communities who are already disadvantaged by virtue of the limited range of services they can access; and access to family violence support (including financial support and advice) on the basis of a woman’s relationship status, marital status, sexual orientation, gender expression, or parenthood experience. All women – and indeed, all people – should be able to access these services regardless of their sexuality, sexual history, marital status, religiosity or lack thereof, and AWL strongly recommends that the Government only provide grants to those organisations that disavow discrimination on religious grounds in the provision of services. You can read a full copy of AWL's submission here....

AWL issued a media release on 14 October 2019 concerning the latest report on the Equitable Briefing Policy. You can find a copy of the media release HERE. 'AWL applauds the organisations and individuals who have formally endorsed or adopted the Equitable Briefing Policy since its launch in 2016 and encourages the myriad other organisations and briefing entities throughout Australia to join them. It is a great sign that in the second year of reporting the interim target of 30% junior briefs to female junior barristers was met – change is possible. It is extremely disappointing however that despite a commitment to equitable briefing and an increase in the number of reported briefs going to women, the value of briefs going to women barristers has fallen as a proportion of the total indicating an increase in the profession’s already dismal gender pay gap. AWL would like to see adopters of the Equitable Briefing Policy also commit to closing this pay gap by providing briefs of equal value to women Barristers.'...