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    Women Represent: Power, Politics & Making a difference

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    Event description

    A free online panel event teasing out the difference women have made through their participation in traditionally male dominated spaces and political culture.

    Moderated by Mary Crooks AO, Women Represent seeks to unpack the power women hold in office (despite their numbers) and the ways in which women lead. Join panelists Ramona Vijeyarasa (author of The Woman President, a unique comparative study of women's leadership and the law); Fiona Patten MP (Leader of the Reason Party); The Hon. Judith Troeth (former Liberal MP); Samantha Ratnam (Leader of the Victorian Greens); and The Hon. Jenny Macklin (former deputy leader of the federal Labor Party). 

    Note: this panel talk will feature closed captions.


    Ramona Vijeyarasa

    Ramona Vijeyarasa is the Chief Investigator behind the Gender Legislative Index, a tool designed to promote the enactment of legislation that works more effectively to improve women’s lives. Her work innovatively combines law, engineering and data science to reinvigorate decades-long debates about the law’s role in addressing gender inequality. A Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Law at the University of Technology Sydney, she is editor of International Women’s Rights and Gender Equality: Making the law work for women (2021) and author of Sex, Slavery and the Trafficked Women: Myths and Misconceptions about Trafficking and its Victims (2015). Ramona’s research is informed by a decade working in civil society. Her international human rights activism has included advancing anti-trafficking victim reintegration networks in Vietnam and Ukraine; filing briefs before the European Court of Human Rights, the Supreme Court of Moldova, and the Supreme Court of the Philippines; and managing multi-country programs to advance women’s reproductive rights and freedom from violence across the global South. Ramona was the 2020 Women’s Leadership Institute Australia Research Fellow and has research grants and awards from New York University, the Australian Academy of the Social Sciences and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

    The Hon Judith Troeth AM

    The Hon Judith Troeth has been a trailblazer for rural women in politics, social justice and human rights, and has achieved significant gains for women in health reform. Before entering politics Judith was a teacher and farmer, giving her a strong rural voice in Parliament. As a Liberal Senator for Victoria (1993-2011), Judith has been a vocal advocate for the humane treatment of refugees and asylum seekers.She has been a member of key Parliamentary committees throughout her career and was Parliamentary Secretary for the Primary Industries and Energy, and Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry portfolios.

    Judith is an outstanding role model for women, generating significant outcomes for women in health reform, leadership and in the agricultural sector. In 2006 she was commissioned to undertake an inquiry into the action required to get rural women into higher board positions. The subsequent report, At the Table, has since been widely referenced by local government and industry. Judith was awarded the Centenary Medal in 2001, for service as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

    Samantha Ratnam

    Before entering Parliament, Samantha was a social worker in the fields of drug and alcohol rehabilitation, international development and settlement services. She was also an elected councillor for the City of Moreland and the first Greens Mayor of Moreland. Samantha says the threat of climate change and the need for governments to address it urgently made her want to get involved in politics. This is what prompted her to run for local government and then Parliament. 

    The priorities Samantha has for her community are to ensure that we act on climate change and address social inequality. She wants to ensure that her constituents’ voices are being heard and represented in the parliament.  Samantha’s vision for Victoria’s future is that our people and environment are cared for and protected. She believes that we can achieve this with ending our dependence on coal and gas, 100% clean renewable energy, affordable housing for all, investment in public transport and protecting our native forests from logging. 

    The areas of public policy that she is most passionate about are addressing climate change, affordable housing and working towards justice for First Nations. In addition, Samantha is committed to reforming our urban planning system so that everyone has access to housing and the environment is nurtured and protected. 

    The Hon Jenny Macklin

    Jenny Macklin served for twenty-three years as the federal Member for Jagajaga. Jenny was the longest-serving woman in the House of Representatives, and was the first woman to become the deputy leader of a major Australian political party. She was the Deputy Leader of the federal parliamentary Labor Party from 2001 to 2006, and she served as the Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, and the Minister for Disability Reform in the Rudd and Gillard Labor governments. She oversaw the Apology to the Stolen Generations and development of the Closing the Gap framework, and the introduction of Australia’s first national Paid Parental Leave scheme; delivered the largest increase to the pension in the history of the payment; was responsible for the design and implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme; and was an integral part of the establishment of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

    Fiona Patten MP

    Fiona Patten is a highly effective member of the Victorian Parliament. She was elected in 2014 as a Member of the Victorian Legislative Council for the Northern Metropolitan region and re-elected in 2018. She is one of a number of crossbenchers who hold the balance of power in Victoria’s Upper House. Fiona is Leader of the Reason Party, described as a future-focused, evidence-based movement committed to delivering equality, sustainability and freedom through new methods of political engagement and pragmatic consultation.

    As an active MP Fiona has been successful in raising the following issues, which have resulted in either a parliamentary enquiry or legislative action: Safe Exclusion Zones around abortion clinics; Australia’s largest public inquiry into drug law reform; the establishment of online e-petitions to Parliament; transforming the transport industry through Ridesharing Legislation; a trial for Victoria’s first medically supervised injecting centre; establishment of the Voluntary Assisted Dying Legislation; and also the Spent Convictions Scheme.

      Fiona is currently the only Independent Member to Chair a Parliamentary Committee. As Chair of the Legal and Social Issues Committee Fiona is currently overseeing the Victorian Inquiry into Homelessness and is preparing to lead the Victorian Cannabis Use Inquiry. The Reason Party has also been instrumental in the push to remove the Lord’s Prayer from Parliament, has put forward a private members Bill to abolish the law of Blasphemy and is preparing to launch a major piece of legislation that will remove tax exemptions for religious organisations. Following lobbying from Fiona, a second Safe Injecting Room will open in Melbourne – a project Fiona helped establish that saves scores of lives every year.

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