Women Say...on the Republic

Women Say...on the Republic

18 February 2002

The Hon. Barry Jones, AO

Chair, Enabling Committee for the Corowa Conference

GPO Box 496H

Melbourne GPO Private, 3001

Dear Mr Jones,

I am writing to you on behalf of the Women's Network of the Australian Republican Movement (ARM).

Many of us were delighted to attend the Corowa Conference on 1-2 December 2001, where we enthusiastically participated in the debate regarding the process for constitutional change in this country. However, we were extremely disheartened when the composition of the Enabling Committee, selected at the Conference and mandated with implementing its outcomes, was announced.

As you are aware, there was considerable disappointment and dissension amongst delegates to the Conference that only one woman was included in this Committee. This disappointment has been replicated throughout the Australian Republican Movement as our members have learnt of the disproportionate composition of the Committee.

We do not accept that the Enabling Committee, as presently constituted, adequately represents either the delegates who took part in the Corowa Conference or the Australian community at large. Furthermore, we feel that the resounding No vote from women in the 1999 Republican referendum illustrated the need to include women fully at every stage of constitutional reform, to ask their views and listen to their concerns regarding constitutional change. It is imperative in this context that Committees such as that emanating from the Corowa Conference allow women an opportunity to become involved.

There are an abundance of women in the political, judicial and social spheres of the Australian community who could positively contribute to the work of the Enabling Committee. The Women's Network of the ARM would be more than happy to offer any assistance required in recommending appropriate women for the Enabling Committee.

We understand that you will be meeting on 23 February 2002 and we encourage you to address at this meeting, as an urgent matter of business, the issue of equitable gender representation on the Committee. We would appreciate notification of your deliberations on this matter.

Yours sincerely,

Allison Henry

Acting National Director

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Last modified:
15 June, 2002