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Media Release by The Hon Tanya Pibersek MP

Australia Strengthens Women’s Rights

Joint Media Release with:

  • The Hon Robert McClelland MP, Attorney-General

Attorney-General, Robert McClelland, and  Tanya Plibersek, today welcomed the entry into force in Australia of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

The Protocol will strengthen the rights of Australian women and provide a further measure to protect them against discrimination.

From today, Australian women will be able to make representations to the CEDAW Committee, once all domestic avenues have been exhausted, where they believe their rights under the Convention have not been respected.

Attorney-General, Robert McClelland, said that “Australia’s accession to the Optional Protocol last year sent a strong message that we are serious about promoting gender equality and that we are prepared to be judged by international human rights standards.”

“Once again, the Government is making it clear that we are serious about positive engagement with the United Nations on human rights issues,” Mr McClelland said.

The CEDAW Committee can issue views on whether a breach of the Convention has occurred and on measures to address the breach. The Optional Protocol also creates a procedure enabling the Committee to initiate inquiries into situations of grave or systemic violations of women’s rights.

Tanya Plibersek, said that “becoming party to the Optional Protocol demonstrates our commitment to the promotion and protection of the rights of women, both at home and abroad.”

Australia has been a party to CEDAW since 1983 and became a party to the Optional Protocol to the Convention in December 2008.