A leading Australian journalist and author, Dr Anne Summers AO, says the ‘political persecution’ of Prime Minister Julia Gillard may breach federal laws designed to protect people’s rights at work.
Dr Summers will deliver Her Rights At Work? The Political Persecution of Australia’s First Female Prime Minister for the 2012 Human Rights and Social Justice Lecture at the University of Newcastle tomorrow.
Dr Summers will conduct a forensic examination of the ways Ms Gillard is denigrated by the Federal Opposition, by the media, in social media forums and via other channels.
“I will demonstrate how Julia Gillard has been subjected to unprecedented sexist and discriminatory commentary and abuse,” Dr Summers said.
“The office of the Prime Minister is being diminished by constant attacks on Australia’s first female head of government. The behaviour is highly reprehensible and I question whether a male prime minister would be subjected to the same barrage of gender-based abuse.”
Dr Summers will illustrate her lecture with examples of the mistreatment to which she says the Prime Minister is subjected.
“Some of the material will be extremely confronting and offensive. However, it is very important to shine a light on this issue.”
Dr Summers is a writer, journalist and author and was involved in the early 1970s in helping start Elsie - Australia’s first women’s refuge - and Refractory Girl, a women’s studies journal. She is the author of the classic work Damned Whores and God’s Police: the colonization of women in Australia and seven other books, including her latest The Lost Mother (Melbourne University Press 2010)
Dr Summers ran the Federal Office of the Status of Women (now Office for Women) from 1983 to 1986 when Bob Hawke was Prime Minister, and was also an advisor on women’s issues to Prime Minister Paul Keating.
Dr Summers is an Officer in the Order of Australia and has received Honorary Doctorates from Flinders University (1994) and the University of New South Wales (2000). In 2011 she was featured on a postage stamp as part of the Australian Legends series.
Media opportunity: The 2012 Human Rights and Social Justice Lecture will be delivered on Friday 31 August by Dr Anne Summers AO from 1pm at the Griffith Duncan Theatre at the University of Newcastle’s Callaghan campus. This is a free public lecture open to the community.
Media contact: For interviews with Dr Summers contact Media and Public Relations Officer Megan Cunneen on 02 4985 4049 or 0421 166 944.
Follow the lecture on Twitter: @Uni_Newcastle #HRSJL