Dear friends and supporters,
A lunch away from my home desk is pretty rare. But Wednesday’s lunch was rarer still. I drove to Canberra and had the extraordinary honour of experiencing the electrifying, spine-tingling, tear-jerking, heart-swelling, nation-changing speeches that Brittany Higgins and Grace Tame delivered at the National Press Club.
It is impossible to adequately describe the power these young women possess. The mood in the room before they took to the stage was heady. Tickets to the event sold out in 45 minutes and there was a waitlist of several hundred. For myriad reasons when Brittany Higgins and Grace Tame speak the country listens. What they say matters. How they say it and why they say it matters too. They are both fiercely intelligent, thoughtful, courageous, with astonishing command of the spoken word.
As a duo they are utterly formidable and their speeches deserve to be watched in their entirety. At least twice. It was rightly described as a speech that stopped the nation. But I don’t think that does it justice. It was a speech that could change the nation. For the better.
Driving away from the capital on Wednesday I reflected on why Brittany Higgins and Grace Tame inspire and fortify hope and determination in so many Australians. And then it dawned on me.
Notwithstanding the different trauma they’ve both experienced, in and out of the public eye, nor the steep personal cost they pay for their advocacy, Brittany Higgins and Grace Tame both believe fervently that things can - and must - be different. They both believe - fervently - that a better future is not an abstract hypothetical. It is a choice. They envision a future in which all children and women in Australia are safe, respected and equal.
And while Brittany Higgins and Grace Tame have made various specific observations and suggestions about how we can build that future they share an absolutely unequivocal view on one critical point. Words alone will not change anything.
Words will not make children safe from abuse.
Words will not improve access to justice.
Words will not make women safer in workplaces or homes or public spaces.
Words will not deliver a better future.
Not even better words.
The only way to secure a better future is through ACTION. The time for talking is done. We need policies not platitudes. We need power exercised to create a better future.
We need leaders bold, brave and determined enough to embrace decisive action. As individuals, employees, leaders, parents and citizens this is the moment for all of us to be bold, brave and determined to demand reform. Because if there's just one thing we all take away from the speeches Brittany Higgins and Grace Tame delivered on Wednesday let it be their fervent belief that things can - and must - be better.
Our mission at The Parenthood is to make Australia the best place in the world to be a parent because when parents and carers are supported children can thrive. It is an unapologetically bold mission and I am unapologetically determined in my advocacy for families, children, parents and women each and every day for the changes that will make things better.
Change is possible! And it's up to us to hold our leaders to account until they deliver. If you want to make some noise about making life better for parents, families and children I humbly invite you to join the #ParentsUp campaign, sign the petition and share it with your friends.