Australian Constitution unlawful

In the absence of a guarantee of gender equality the Australian Constitution is both immoral and illegal in the governance of the nation.

Writing in the Sydney Morning Herald on international Women's Day, University of NSW lecturer with the school of social sciences, Dr Sarah Maddison, suggests that "Australia once led the world in efforts to improve equality between women and men".

"We once set benchmarks in increasing women's influence over public decision-making; in promoting gendered analysis of public policies; in enshrining the principle of participatory democracy through a well-funded and consulted women's groups sector; and in a national commitment to legislative and policy innovations to enhance women's human rights and civil liberties."

"Yet Australia's standing as a leader in the global struggle for gender equality is much diminished".

Moreover, "[m]any achievements of an earlier period have been undone".

Dr Maddison suggests that "Australia's legislative framework for protecting women's rights has proven inadequate for ensuring lasting gender equality in areas such as equal participation in the labour market", that "women make up only 28.3 per cent of the members of the Federal Parliament", that women's policy units within government have been dismantled and that "women's advocacy organisations have been effectively marginalised in policy debates over the past decade".

"It is important to future generations of Australian women that concerns [raised in a Gender Report for the Democratic Audit of Australia] are addressed. Rebuilding the policy machinery and revitalising the role played by women's advocacy organisations should be priorities. However, for this to be achieved in the face of political neglect and apathy, renewed pressure is required."

The Australian Constitution has undermined public support for equality and must therefore be removed as an instrument of governance under the terms of the United Nation's Universal Declaration of Human Rights to which the nation is a signatory.

A new Constitution providing for women's and men's legislatures presided over by an executive of elders accompanied by courts of women's and men's jurisdiction would resolve the dilemma.

8 March, 2007