Lisa’s ‘powerful’ message from Brittany
Lisa Wilkinson has revealed she will be delivering a "powerful" message from Brittany Higgins at the Australian March4Justic protest on Monday.
Marches will be held across Australia as an outcry against violence against women, sexual misconduct and misogyny echoes across the country after Brittany Higgins went public with allegations that a Liberal staffer raped her in the Defence Minister's office.
The grassroots movement was kicked off by one woman's tweet and has grown to include over 40 locations across Australia.
The Project host is now set to speak at the Canberra event, explaining she had contacted the alleged rape victim after being asked to speak outside Parliament House at 12pm Monday.
"The first phone call I made after I was asked was to Brittany Higgins," she told co-hosts on the Channel 10 program.
"I felt it was really important that Brittany's words be heard tomorrow.
"Brittany said yes and she has written the most powerful words for me to deliver in Canberra tomorrow. So I feel extremely honoured to be able to be her voice tomorrow."
Lisa then went on to say the message was something "our politicians desperately need to hear".
In the wake of Brittany coming forward, telling news.com.au her explosive story about the alleged incident, three more women came forward with accounts against the Liberal staffer, prompting Prime Minister Scott Morrison to establish an investigation into workplace culture at Parliament House.
A separate, historical rape allegation made against Attorney-General Christian Porter, who has categorically denied the claims, emerged days later along with the shocking testimonies collected by Chanel Contos from thousands of students across Australia about a chilling culture of normalised rape and sexual assault.
As a result, Janine Hendry, a Melbourne academic, designer, entrepreneur and single mum, took to Twitter to ask whether it would be possible to form a ring of people around Parliament House as a silent protest from "extremely disgruntled women".
While the original idea to circle Parliament House had to be canned due to "due to permit and COVID restrictions", it did little to stop the #EnoughisEnough movement.
Ms Hendry said she was fed up with the "woeful behaviour" of the Government in response to sexual abuse allegations, ongoing discrimination and a lack of transparency and people would no longer be silenced on injustices.
I need someone to tell me if this is possible. I then also need someone to estimate the distance and how many women we would need? I’m absolutely serious if this is possible we need to protest at a time and place that tells not only this Govt but the world that we’ve had enough— 💧Janine Hendry (@janine_hendry) February 24, 2021
Since then the idea has morphed into collective action across the nation. More than 85,000 women across 40 locations are expected to march in major cities as well as numerous country towns like Wollongong and Bunbury.
Lisa isn't the only big name who will be attending - with Australian TV presenter Julia Zemiro set to MC the Canberra protest while author and commentator Jamila Rizvi will speak at the Melbourne march.
Former federal MP Julia Banks, who accused colleagues of badly bullying her and quit politics, and independent MP Zali Steggali have both promoted the marches on Twitter.
Federal Labour MP Andrew Leigh tweeted that his office would be closed on Monday so his staff could attend the march at Parliament House.
But offers from politicians who want to speak at the marches have been knocked back by Ms Hendry, because she wants the events to be apolitical and focused on change, she said.
There are more than 15,000 people following the March4Justice Facebook page and over 12,000 on Twitter.
People are being asked to keep COVID-19 safe on the marches by wearing masks and observing social distancing. They are also being encouraged to wear black from head to toe.
The movement will also present a petition to Parliament demanding action on gendered violence. It calls for a federal Gender Equality Act, independent investigations into all cases of gendered violence and increasing public funding for gendered violence prevention. It also demands the 55 recommendations from the Australian Human Rights Commission's 2020 report into sexual harassment in Australian workplaces be implemented.
Originally published as Lisa's 'powerful' message from Brittany