Words won’t deliver a better future

Lunch away from my home office is quite rare. But Wednesday lunch was even rarer. I drove to Canberra and had the extraordinary honor of attending the electrifying, moving, heartbreaking, uplifting and heartbreaking speeches that Brittany Higgins and Grace Tame gave at the National Press Club.

It is impossible to adequately describe the power that these young women possess. The atmosphere in the room before they went on stage was exhilarating. Tickets for the event sold out within 45 minutes and there was a waiting list of several hundred. For a myriad of 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 an amazing command of speech.

As a duo, they are utterly formidable, and their speeches are worth watching in their entirety. At least twice. It has been rightly described as a speech that brought the nation to a standstill. But I don’t think that does it justice. It was a speech that could change the nation. For the best.

As I left the capital on Wednesday, I reflected on why Brittany Higgins and Grace Tame inspire and strengthen the hope and determination of so many Australians. And then it occurred to me.

Despite the different traumas they have both gone through, in the public eye and out of sight, nor the high 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 hypothesis. It’s 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 won’t change that.

Words will not protect children from abuse.

Words will not improve access to justice.

Words will not make women safer in the workplace, at home or in public spaces.

Words will not deliver a better future.

Not even better words.

The only way to ensure a better future is through ACTION. The time for talking is over. We need politics, not platitudes. We need power to be exercised to create a better future.

We need leaders bold, courageous and determined enough to take decisive action. As individuals, employees, leaders, parents and citizens, now is the time for all of us to be bold, courageous and determined to demand reform. Because if there’s one thing we all take away from the speeches Brittany Higgins and Grace Tame gave on Wednesday, it’s their fervent belief that things can — and must — get better. .

Our mission at The Parenthood is to make Australia the best place in the world to parent, because when parents and guardians are supported, children can thrive. This is a decidedly bold mission and I am resolutely determined in my advocacy for families, children, parents and women every day for change that will make things better.

Change is possible! And it’s up to us to hold our leaders to account until they keep their promises. If you want to make some noise to improve the lives of parents, families and children, I humbly invite you to join the #ParentsUp campaign, sign the petition and share it with your friends.

Who’s in?

Check out The Parenthood’s #ParentsUp petition

Discover the full speech

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