Sunday 15 October 2023

Students Took Over Parliament - inspiring!!

My Vote My Voice, Mon 7 August 2023; 9:15am-12:45pm

The outstanding annual student event My Vote My Voice, conducted by the National Council of Women of Victoria, was held in the Legislative Council Chamber of Parliament House Melbourne. Students from government and independent schools, covering many cultural backgrounds in Melbourne, addressed the topic: What are the barriers to Human Rights in Australia? How can we begin to overcome them. Secondary students from 10 schools made group presentations of their findings from research and, in one case, a survey.

Prior to these student presentations, our Keynote speaker was Lauren Matthews, Director of Programs at the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission. She leads the policy, legal, education, consulting and information functions of the Commission - focused on addressing discrimination, human rights, racial and religious vilification, and change and suppression practices. The Education and Engagement Branch is focused on providing clear, accessible legal information and helping individuals and organisations to understand their rights and responsibilities, via training sessions, consultancy and their Enquiry Line. Previously, Lauren practiced law as a solicitor within Australia, including human rights law, discrimination, refugee, criminal law, family law, child protection, and family violence. For 10 years, Lauren served internationally, primarily with the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Geneva, as well as in field operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Nepal. She served as an International Legal Adviser in Sri Lanka for the International Independent Group of Eminent Persons monitoring the national Commission of Inquiry into serious human rights violations. “Only positive outcomes are coming from Victoria’s Charter of Human Rights. It is a vehicle to promote and protect the values of Victoria for a diverse, equal, respectful and just state.” For details of her speech, see August Newsletter.

Student presentations followed this most appropriate and informative start to the morning. There were students from 10 schools: Bayside P-12 College Williamstown Campus, Al Siraat College Epping, Kingswood College, MacRobertson Girls High School, Elwood College, Western English Language School, Footscray High School, Rosehill Secondary College, Firbank Grammar, Melbourne Girls Grammar. A group from each school addressed the topic: What are the barriers to Human Rights in Australia? How can we begin to overcome them. The students presented brilliantly, showing how well they had researched the topic, speaking clearly and with passion. All concluded that a Federal Human Rights Charter was essential and urgent. For more details, see August Newsletter.

Panel members, Fiona Patten, past MLC, Cr Kylie Spears, past Mayor and President of the Australian Local Government Women’s Association, and keynote speaker Lauren Matthews were extremely impressed, suggesting that the students consider local government and/or State government positions in the future! The official photographer has uploaded photos to Dropbox.

Award Winners

Thursday 31 August 2023

NCWV 120th AGM Thursday 7 September

We look forward to you joining us at the 120th AGM. Our Speaker is Helen Dalley- Fisher, Convenor of Equality Rights Alliance, the peak body with which we are involved in advocating with the Federal government.

Helen will reflect on the achievements since the 2022 Federal election and the program for the year ahead.

The Notice and invitations to participate as an Adviser or Committee Member will be circulated shortly.

Think about how you might be more involved.

Start time: 12 noon sharp

Health Week - Wednesday 6 September from 12 until 2pm at the Melbourne Town Hall Yarra Room

Ronniet Milliken welcomed Councillor Dr Olivia Ball - City of Melbourne representing NCWV’s Patron, the Hon Lord Mayor Sally Capp AO. Cr Ball is portfolio lead for Health, Wellbeing & Belonging and deputy portfolio lead for Aboriginal Melbourne and Deputy Chair of Council’s Disability Advisory Committee

As a psychologist, Olivia has an understanding of health issues. She outlined what the City of Melbourne is doing: At local government level, we don’t run hospitals. Most local governments are getting out of aged care. The only direct healthcare we provide are vaccinations and maternal & child healthcare where a healthy life starts. Local government also has an important role in building community and other social determinants of health – like connection to nature, access to public pools, recreation facilities, affordable housing and healthy eating.

The state of your health is correlated to distance from the nearest park or nature reserve, and the distance to your nearest fast-food outlet. Health is both physical and mental. Local government has an active role in addressing isolation and loneliness providing community facilities and supporting community activities and efforts to create community. For example:

  • Funding Project Respect – a Melbourne organisation by and for women trafficked for sexual exploitation.
  • Immunization nurses have been caring for refugees who have fled Afghanistan and Ukraine with initial home and immediate healthcare and social needs addressed in before being resettled across the city and state.
  •  A collaborative effort, Project Night Justice, working with Victoria Police, Crime Stoppers, Full Stop Australia and Melbourne Uni to make our streets safer for women and gender-diverse Melburnians. This offers training and accreditation to nightlife venues to recognize and support women experiencing harassment or assault
  • funding training for hairdressers in how to recognize and refer clients experiencing domestic violence.
  • The City of Melbourne is currently converting a disused industrial building in Little Bourke St into 50 studio apartments for people sleeping rough or at risk of homelessness – with secure floors for women.

Provide free menstrual products in council libraries and municipal bathrooms to help address period poverty

To read more: September 2023 newsletter

Wednesday 7 June 2023

Invitation to Principals to participate in My Vote My Voice

A letter to principals inviting their school to participate in My Vote My Voice this year on Monday 7 August.  Please circulate this letter to your colleagues and any schools for which you have contacts. Expressions of interest are requested by the end of term (24th June), with the listing of students required up until the 21st of July.

Link to download and view

Sunday 21 May 2023

Mission Australia Survey

The Youth Survey 2023 is now open. Now in its 22nd year, it's the largest online survey of its kind in Australia and provides an important annual snapshot into the experiences and views of young people aged 15-19.

Take the survey, or share it with a young person so that their views are heard. 

Open from March – August.

Be Part of History


A world-first study tracking the health and wellbeing of Victorians, from birth to old age, has delivered a recruitment milestone of more than 90,000 participants. Murdoch Children’s Research Institute’s GenV, one of the world’s largest-ever birth and parent cohort studies, has seen 35,000 babies (90,000 newborns, mothers and fathers) sign up. GenV is recruiting across every birthing hospital in Victoria.

GenV Scientific Director Professor Melissa Wake
GenV family: mother Saada, son Ali, baby Mya, Minister for Health Mary-Anne Thomas

GenV Scientific Director Professor Melissa Wake said the project aimed to better understand and treat the causes of modern health problems such as obesity, asthma, autism, food allergies and mental illness. “Families that take part in GenV will make a difference to the future health of generations to come,” she said. GenV aims to help solve the complex problems facing children and adults and provide the opportunity to better predict, treat and prevent many different conditions. “Even in its start-up recruitment stage, GenV is already meeting this goal at a speed and scale that might not otherwise have been possible. Collaborators are already testing out new screens that could detect infections and syndromes in the newborn period, providing data on the long-term safety of vaccines in pregnancy and supporting a new registry for children born with hip problems.”

Every baby born from October 4, 2021 to October 3, 2023 is invited to join, along with their parents, no matter where they live in Victoria or what language they speak. Participants can sign up to the study in person during their birthing hospital stay or at any time thereafter via a simple, guided online process.

The recruitment team has recorded 70 languages, including Auslan, during the opt-in process. More than 6700 families in GenV do not primarily speak English at home.

Thrive by Five from Jay Weatherill, Director

Up to 101,620 women would join or rejoin the workforce if the Childcare Activity Test was abolished - and our economy would get a $4.4 billion boost! These are just some of the incredible findings of a report by Impact Economics and Policy that was recently released. The report shows that the Activity Test is preventing parents, usually mothers, from joining or rejoining the workforce, and makes one thing very clear; it’s time for this confusing and complicated “test” to be abolished. I’ve heard stories from mums who would like to return to work or work more days but can’t, from parents who wish their child could have more days in early learning but don’t qualify for the subsidies needed to make it affordable, from families who are fearful of inadvertently running up a debt with Centrelink when their hours at work change. The Activity Test is a major barrier to families accessing early learning – in fact, its contributing to 126,000 children missing out on critical early childhood education and care, including single parent families – who are 3 times more likely to have children limited to 1 day a week of early learning and childcare. Parents have to update their activity regularly with Centrelink to ensure they are not overpaid – a nightmare for busy parents with changeable hours. The Activity Test actually discourages people from finding work.

As the new report shows, scrapping the test will benefit women, families, the economy and most importantly, children. That’s why I want to hear from you. Because while facts and statistics are critically important for making the case to scrap to the Activity Test, it is real stories from real people that change hearts and minds. Will you take a moment to share your story about how the Activity Test is affecting you or your family? Click here to tell us now.