women's liberation

The heading at the top of the Emily’s List website says: “When women support women, women win.” But not all women will be winners from Emily’s List.

If you’re an ALP candidate, the list wants you to win. It offers publicity, financial support, and networking to get you elected. Since it was set up in 1996, the political network dedicated to advancing progressive female candidates has donated $600,000 to election campaigns.

The approaching October 12 trial of a young Cairns couple on abortion-related criminal charges shows the need for repeal of the anti-abortion laws. In response, the campaign to decriminalise abortion is gaining strength.

A July 9 book launch with author Caroline de Costa attracted 90 people. Jo Wainer, a long-time campaigner for abortion rights, was a special guest speaker at the event.

A dinner to celebrate 30 years since the start of the historic “Jobs for Women” campaign was held on September 18 in Figtree, Wollongong. Pictured are some of the original group of 34 test case complainants in the victorious action against the discriminatory employment practices of Australian Iron and Steel (a BHP subsidiary at the time).

Rev. Fred Nile, leader of the Christian Democratic Party (CDP) and member of the NSW legislative council made the following comment on September 17: "I am very concerned that week by week the ALP is adopting the permissive agenda of the Green political party — first the Homosexual Relationship Register Bill, second the homosexual Same Sex Adoption Bill, then the proposed Surrogacy Same Sex Bill and now the Kings Cross injecting room."

On September 15, France’s Senate passed a bill banning women from wearing full Islamic face veils such as the burqa and niqab.

Similar laws are being considered in other European countries. In the New South Wales Legislative Council, Christian fundamentalist MLC Fred Nile has introduced a private member’s bill seeking to ban wearing the burqa. Neither major party supporta the bill, so it is expected to fail.

Momentum is building in solidarity with a couple from Cairns who have been charged under Queensland’s anti-abortion laws (see article on page 12). The couple is to face court in Cairns on October 12, and the Pro-Choice Action collective, Women’s Abortion Action Campaign, and Radical Women have issued a call for a National Day of Action to be held on Saturday October 9. The rallies will demand the dropping of the charges, repealing of the anti-abortion laws and free, safe, accessible abortion on demand.

Never Ever Again
By Caroline de Costa
Boolarong Press, 2010
www.carolinedecosta.com

A teenager and her boyfriend are catapulted to national notoriety when they are charged with procuring an abortion under Queensland’s archaic Criminal Code. Their identities are plastered across the internet, their home is fire-bombed and religious zealots shriek triumphantly from the pages of the local rag. Is this Caroline de Costa’s latest novel? Think again. Welcome to Cairns in 2010.

September 5-11 was National Body Image and Eating Disorders Awareness Week.

“Awareness” about these serious and widespread issues is reasonably high these days. No young person can get through high school without being acutely aware of the pressures on physical appearance and personal image.

The Mission Australia 2009 National Survey of Young Australians found that body image was the third-ranked issue of concern. A quarter of respondents (25.5%) said it was a major concern.

Liberal member for Dunkley, Bruce Billson, has been left fighting for his political life after the recent federal election. The Council of Single Mothers and their Children (CSMC) Action Group targeted his electorate during the election campaign.

The cover of the August 9 edition edition of Time magazine featured a shocking picture of Bibi Aisha, a young woman whose nose and ears had been cut off. The photo was accompanied by the headline: “What happens if we leave Afghanistan”. However, what happened to Aisha took place in Afghanistan under Western occupation.

In return for allowing Time to publish her photo, Aisha was flown to the US for reconstructive surgery. However, although Time ensured her mutilated face was seen worldwide, they appear less keen for her voice to be heard.

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