We are proud, small-l liberal feminists, who have been loyal members of our political Party since we were teenagers. We joined our Party because we wanted to make our Party better, and advocate for political change we believed in.
Though we understand that many are frustrated with career politicians, or a privileged political class, we don’t identify with either of those labels.
The toll that our political involvement has taken on our health, wellbeing, careers, and futures has been significant.
We have experienced unacceptable sexual misconduct, sexism, and bullying during the years we have been involved. When we needed our leaders, political party, and fellow party members to help us - they turned a blind eye, treated us badly, or tried to say we were the problem.
We are far from the only ones to be treated this way.
So we aren’t politically active because it has afforded us privilege. We are involved in spite of the fact that our experiences of being women in politics have been unacceptably painful, alienating, difficult, and harmful to our mental health.
We continue to be politically active because we refuse to accept that this is an acceptable price to expect women to pay for being involved in politics. We continue to be politically active because we believe that being a member of a political party should be a deeply fulfilling and positive way to try to push for reform and to help others.
So we decided that enough is enough - and to come together to fight for a better political future because far too many are suffering right now.
Currently, there are no clear laws, nor specific, standardised processes to govern what happens when sexual harassment, bullying, or other types of misconduct occur in our Parliament, or in many political party organisations. Even when there are some rules or processes in a political party, there is insufficient policing of misconduct, and survivors feel as though it will only hurt them more to speak out.
Moreover, we face a culture where calling out inappropriate behaviour and naming harassment is not welcomed.
We know the problem extends far beyond political parties. So we want to take the politics out of sexual harassment, bullying, and other types of serious misconduct - whether that politics arises in an actual political party, or arises in another institution, organisation, or company.
We want to push for law reform, better policies, effective complaints-handling processes and a better culture. We want to ensure that survivors are able to speak out without fear of harm to their wellbeing, health, reputation or future. Importantly, we want to ensure that survivors are finally made a priority, and celebrated for their courage and strength.
So whether you’ve personally experienced harassment, or if you’ve witnessed or heard something, or would like to share your story generally - we want to hear from you. We care, we believe you, and we would like to try and support you.
Politics is a numbers game. The more of us that speak out and share our experiences of sexual harassment, assault or bullying across the political spectrum, the better.
We must change the system. We must change the culture.
Every survivor’s experience is important and unique. So, too, is every ally’s story about what they have witnessed or heard. We want to help refocus media coverage, the conversation, and reform efforts on you.
From the stories and experiences you share, and what you tell us about the issues you care about, we will lobby the Morrison Government, along with governments across our states and territories, to show leadership on these issues.
We plan to make it clear that inaction, symbolic gestures, tokenism, and empty promises are unacceptable - and that we won’t be giving up or backing down.
If you would like to spearhead change, share your ideas/feedback, or if we can support you in any way, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Dhanya & Chelsey
If you, or anyone you know needs help or support, it is only a phone call or message away:
Lifeline: Call 13 11 14, or chat online at https://www.lifeline.org.au/get-help/online-services/crisis-chat
1800 RESPECT: Call 1800 737 732, or chat online at https://chat.1800respect.org.au/#/welcome