The Asian Australian Alliance Women’s Forum (AAAWF) held its inaugural launch on Saturday June 14 in Sydney, with the theme of Asian Australian Women: Movement for Change. The launch event was attended by a number of female Federal and State politicians and a lawyer.
The first key note address was given by Linda Burney, Deputy Leader for the NSW Opposition, who gave a welcome to country and shared common passion for participation in the launch forum event.
“We are here because we believe in the same thing, we are together because we care”, Linda said.
The second key note address was given by Dr Mehreen Faruqi MLC, Greens Spokesperson for Multicultural Affairs in NSW, who spoke on the need for more Asian Australian women represented in our political system and highlighted on the importance of grassroots movement.
Dr Mehreen Faruqi in her address said, “Our political system will only be truly representative when women play an equal role in decision-making. It’s exciting to see organisations and community groups taking on the challenge of addressing the current imbalance”.
Joy Hopwood, who was the first Asian Australian presenter on Playschool, spoke about the lack of ethnic diversity in Australian media, her personal journey and her observations on the proposed changes to the Race Discrimination Act.
Senator Deborah O’Neill shared reflection of her journey as a migrant in Australia and gave few useful tips to increase participation of women into politics at different levels.
“Use your expertise, talent and reach out to connect, offer your expertise for a community benefit; networking is valuable in your journey in politics”, Senator O’Neill cheered.
Senator, Concetta Fierravanti-Wells eloquently addressed the women and spoke about the contributions and achievements by Asian Australian women, the challenges she experienced coming from an Italian migrant family and shared her experiences of journey into politics.
Speaking at the event, Senator, Concetta Fierravanti-Wells called on all community leaders to develop “collaboration, and continue networking”.
Helen Campbell OAM, Executive Officer for Women’s Legal Centre NSW discussed the services provided by the Women’s Legal Centre NSW and answered questions from the women on the issues behind domestic violence, depression and other forms of abuse.
Sophie Cotsis MLC, NSW Shadow Minister for Local Government and the Status of Women, conducted a question and answer session, seeking feedback, questions and opinions on what are the issues faced by Asian Australian women.
“Participate in forums, discussions and in different platforms that is suitable in your circumstances, and feel free to reach out to your local MPs to discuss your concerns and interests” she said.
The launch was well attended by the Asian communities which represented a great cross section. These communities included female leaders from the Chinese, Indian, Nepalese, Filipino, Vietnamese, Mongolian, Thai, Indonesian, Malaysian, Singaporean and many others.
The women were actively participating in the Voice of The Women session, moderated by AAAWF Convener Anjana Regmi and MC Irene Ross. Policy advocacy topics and general concerns raised were equal employment opportunities, flexible working arrangements for women returning to work after maternity, impact of budget on small grassroots migrant community organisations, domestic violence, violence against women such as rape, dowry, availability of services and state support for women living in difficult and/or abusive relationships, language barriers to access council services, etc.
The Asian Australian Alliance Women’s Forum is an advocacy network and acts as a channel of communication between Asian communities and all sides of government.
It aims to carry this out by promoting dialogue on common issues, and from these common issues, develop round table projects which will form the basis of advocacy with the government.
“Use our knowledge, skills, and attitude to deconstruct the meaning of em”POWER”ment in your everyday life to construct a new meaning. From there aim to use the “power” of your knowledge, skills and positive attitude to inspire others and collaborate. You don’t have to go far, change can start from your immediate circle”, Asian Australian Alliance Women’s Convenor Anjana Regmi said.
The Asian Australian Alliance Women’s Forum works on the premise that every Asian Australian female community leader who attends round table discussions and is involved in common projects are leaders for the Asian Australian Alliance Women’s Forum.
For further details regarding AAAWF, please contact conveners Anjana or Erin on 0402 917 082 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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