Australian High Commission
Papua New Guinea

151125 Speech Ag HOM on staff white ribbon day

White Ribbon Day Staff Morning Tea
Australian High Commission, Port Moresby

Remarks by HE Ms Bronte Moules
Australia’s Acting High Commissioner to PNG

Wednesday 25 November 2015


• Secretary Lawrence Kalinoe – Pacific Women Advisory Board Member
• Magistrate John Kaumi – Male Advocacy Network
• Acting Manager Mary Albaniel – GESI Implementation Branch, Department of Personnel Management
• Ms Lesieli Taviri – Pacific Women Advisory Board Member
• Ms Jane Kesno – Pacific Women Advisory Board Member
• Mr Ben Packham – EPSP representative
• Staff

Today we mark the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, also known as White Ribbon Day.

This event is part of the 20 Days of Activism to Stop Violence Against Women which aims to create community momentum towards ending violence against women.

We know rates of domestic violence in PNG are horrific. Approximately two in three women experience physical and/or sexual abuse by their intimate partners or family members.

Women and children suffer greatly from extreme gender-based violence such as sorcery related violence. I commend the Government of PNG for its endorsement of the Sorcery Action Plan which aims to reduce this type of violence.

Last year’s staff survey showed that the majority of locally engaged women at the High Commission who completed the survey had experienced some type of violence as well as some men.

Staff felt violence had impacted on their career progression and their ability to perform their jobs due to the associated stress.

In response to the survey, our High Commission developed and launched its staff Family and Sexual Violence Policy to help create a safe workplace.

Subsequently, we recruited a dedicated officer, Ms Catherine Natera, to implement the policy in our Gender team. I now am very happy to say that staff are accessing Catherine and gaining valuable information to make informed choices around their safety. This is helping them stay in work in a safe environment.

Our Family and Sexual Violence Policy will not only help keep staff safe and working through such a crises, but it will also help managers know how to provide appropriate support to victims of violence.

I believe this policy will add to the growing number of employers in this country who are taking a stand against violence.

Today, we also recognise the important role men play in ending their own violence and changing their attitudes to women.

Men must become agents for positive change and growth in the role of women. Men must stop this violence.

Australia has been proud to support the leadership of the Government of PNG with its Gender Equity and Social Inclusion Policy – “GESI”, across the PNG public sector.

A key feature of this policy is the formation of the Male Advocacy Network – a group of men in leadership positions who have committed to promoting the empowerment of women and the principles of gender equality.

Since the program commenced in 2013, close to 30 male advocates have been trained to fulfil this role under the leadership of Mr John Kali, the Secretary of the Department of Personnel Management.

We are fortunate to have with us today Mrs Mary Albaniel, Acting Manager, Gender Equity and Social Inclusion Implementation Branch from the Department of Personnel Management, and Magistrate John Kaumi, a member of the Public Service Male Advocacy Network to talk more about this work.

We are also fortunate to have a sneak preview of a film prepared by Ben Packham of EPSP about being a male advocate. The film shows the importance of men standing up to reduce male violence.

We do hope that many people will have the chance to view it over time. It’s an excellent product – yet another high quality resource from our managing contractor.

During the 20 Days of Activism there is a full program of sports events set up through the Sports for Development program to advocate against violence.

There will be rugby league clinics, cricket matches, soccer clinics, mixed netball matches and other sporting activities throughout Port Moresby reinforcing this message.

This week, we will announce our support to Plan International in the delivery of the Equal Playing Field activity which uses netball and volleyball in high schools to promote anti gender-based violence and respect messages.

White Ribbon is the world’s largest movement of men and boys working to end men’s violence against women and girls and to promote a new vision of masculinity.

The White Ribbons we wear today represent our commitment that we do not excuse violence against women, and we support community action and attitudinal change to stop violence.

Men of all ages, workplaces and backgrounds are needed to help establish the community leadership needed to once and for all eradicate violence against women in PNG.

Last year, a number of male staff became White Ribbon advocates. I commend your support and today provides another opportunity for others to join.

By becoming an advocate, you are the driving force to break the silence over men’s violence against women. Advocates actively practice and promote gender equality and proactively contribute to the success of White Ribbon.

The High Commission will look into becoming a White Ribbon organisation as part of our staff Family and Sexual Violence policy.

Thank you.