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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 11 Hansard (24 October) . . Page.. 4218 ..


As many people are aware, White Ribbon is an organisation of men supporting women who suffer domestic violence. Since that announcement was made, White Ribbon's CEO—he is their new CEO—issued a kind of back-pedal and declared that they will now be consulting with their stakeholders. "Consulting with their stakeholders" is an interesting term. The irony that an organisation like White Ribbon, which is allegedly dedicated to men taking a staunch position on violence against women, can flip-flop on women's reproductive rights is interesting, to say the very least.

As I said, we have been told by journalists that White Ribbon are going to consult with their stakeholders. I am unsure as to who those stakeholders may be. Their website states that 170 ambassadors who identify as men and 119 advocates who identify as women—I am sure we all know some of those ambassadors and that they are 100 per cent dedicated to the cause of White Ribbon—are standing up to support a grassroots movement dedicated to opposing men's violence against women.

I know that some supporters of White Ribbon have come out in the media and have opposed and felt betrayed and angry about White Ribbon's initial stance on this matter. I do hope that some of the recent media articles that are claiming White Ribbon have completely done a backflip on this are correct, because it would be a shame to stand here and see an organisation such as White Ribbon withdraw their support for women's reproductive rights.

I know that in February 2017 a former White Ribbon ambassador, then White Ribbon CEO Libby Davies, said that a handful of ambassadors resigned on religious grounds because White Ribbon had posted for the first time their support for reproductive freedom and that those who remained, it was hoped, did so because they either supported that stance or were unfazed.

I would like to remind members that a 2010 study published in the Medical Journal of Australia showed that 87 per cent of all Australians supported safe and legal access to abortion. There were some slight differences in age, gender and religious affiliation but none significant. Today I stand here and call on all the ACT members of White Ribbon to reaffirm their support for the freedom of women's reproductive rights and to thank the men that already have stood up, and who continue to stand up, to say no to violence against women.

Council on the Ageing ACT

MS LAWDER (Brindabella) (5.20): I rise today to thank the team at the Council on the Ageing ACT, COTA ACT, for inviting me out to Hughes today for their annual general meeting. COTA ACT are a great organisation, and they achieve a lot for seniors across Canberra. They are a peak body for older Canberrans. They work with older people, their families and their carers to advocate for their rights and interests and improve their wellbeing.

The COTA ACT annual report shows that they took 13,754 calls on their seniors information line during the 2017-18 year. They issued 10,860 seniors cards. Over


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