This petition which ran from 8 October 2014 to 12 October 2014 in Change.org has now been closed. A copy of the petition with 258 signatories and comments have been emailed to the Presiding Officers in Parliament, the Hon Stephen Parry and the Hon Bronwyn Bishop to revise the related Interim Orders issued. It has also been emailed to Senator Christine Milne and Shadow Minister for Women, Senator Claire Moore. I have also sent it to the Hon Ann Sudmalis MP, my Federal member, to ask that she table the petition in Parliament.
This Petition was being fully endorsed by Joumanah El Matrah, Executive Director of the Australian Muslim Women’s Centre for Human Rights (AMWCHR) as it was created in collaboration with AMWCHR and Managing Director of Myriad Consultants, Georgie Prattis.
Thank you once again for supporting and promoting this petition calling for the valuing of all women in our society.
Diann Rodgers-Healey (PhD)
Petition by Australian Centre for Leadership for Women (ACLW)
We believe igniting national debate about Australian Muslim women’s choice of clothing promotes fear and contempt against Muslim women and, as such, is divisive in our unique multicultural society that values differences such as those based on ethnicity, religion, race and gender identities.
That this issue has been focused on against the backdrop of the Islamic State terrorism overseas is extremely troubling and negligent. It ignites community tension and escalates existing racism and violence against a group of Australian women in our society.
That it has targeted a silent and vulnerable group of Australian women and connected their uniquely attired presence in Parliament to notions of security and safety defies the very essence of freedoms under our democracy. Instituting a ban on the burqa, or segregation of women who wear it in Parliament has no legal precedent in parliamentary history and harms our reputation as a nation.
As members of a secular democracy, women’s dress code should be beyond the control of the state. All women living in Australia are entitled to live freely, without fear of political persecution because of their choice of dress.
We call on you, as Prime Minister and Minister for Women, to show moral leadership and publicly call for the valuing of ALL women in our society and reject all calls which limit the sovereignty of a woman’s right to choose.
Thank you very much for your support.