Welcome to the Southern Women's Action Network (SWAN) website.
We are a diverse group of women of all generations, who meet in Mt Martha or Mt Eliza, Victoria, Australia, for a few hours on a Sunday morning five times a year in March, May, July, September and November.
SWAN acknowledges the Bunurong / Boon Wurrung people, the Traditional Custodians of these lands and waters where we meet. We pay our respects to Elders, past and present. In line with our commitment to social justice, SWAN unequivocally supports First Nations People in their campaigns for sovereignty, self-determination, treaties and truth-telling.
SWAN meetings have an emphasis on 'Social Justice Issues" and provide a forum for matters of concern to women. Our meetings also promote women's active involvement in the community. We share morning tea, listen to an interesting female guest speaker, and have an opportunity to share ideas and information with each other.
Membership is informal and new members are always welcome. Please consider coming along to a meeting or email firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to our email list.
Between meetings we may suggest actions members can take on social justice issues. We promote social justice actions on our Facebook page and Instagram.
If you would like to donate to support our social justice actions you can do so here Donate to SWAN
Southern Women’s Action Network
Position Paper re the Constitutional Enshrinement of an Indigenous Voice
Our country is facing a critical moment in our history. There is significant unfinished business to address. ‘The Uluru Statement from the Heart’ (2017) gifted by First Nations Peoples to all Australians guides the way. It invites us to walk alongside Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples to create an equitable future for us all.
The Southern Women’s Action Network (SWAN), comprising over 200 members across the Mornington Peninsula, accepts this historic proposal as originally formulated and requested by First Nations Peoples. We strongly support its call for lasting systemic change through the Enshrinement of an Indigenous Voice in the Australian Constitution. Furthermore, we support the establishment of a Makarrata Commission to oversee a process of Agreement-making between governments and First Nations and Truth-Telling about our history. These reforms are practical and just. They are long overdue.
In March 2021 we documented our position on constitutional protection in a submission to the Indigenous Voice Co-design process commissioned by the Minister for Indigenous Australians, Ken Wyatt. We expressed our concern that Australia lags well behind other countries in upholding the key principles of The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. First Nations Peoples in this country do not have “autonomy or self-government in matters relating to their internal and local affairs”.
Our proposal was amongst the 90% of submissions received from over 9,400 people, communities and organisations to disregard the government’s requirement that respondents restrict any recommendations to mere legislative change. We argued that matters dealt with by legislation alone can too readily be amended or eliminated. This will not ensure that the concerns of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples are addressed. Moreover, legislating a voice prior to the nation endorsing a constitutionally protected First Nations Voice to Parliament will not achieve the long lasting systemic change that is required. Constitutional protection would ensure that any significant alterations concerning the First Nations Voice would need to be passed by Referendum.
SWAN applauds the commitment made by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in his election night victory speech (May 2022) to implement The Uluru Statement from the Heart - in full and support his pledge to hold a referendum to Constitutionally Enshrine an Indigenous Voice to Parliament.
When enacted, this will ensure that our Constitution is amended in line with international standards on the rights of Indigenous Peoples. This will guarantee that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples have a lasting say in the laws and policies that affect their lives and lead to better policies and outcomes for their communities. It will profoundly enhance government capacity in Indigenous affairs policy development and law-making.
Bipartisan support is critical for such a Referendum to succeed. All Australians must be well informed before they cast their vote. SWAN is contributing to this advocacy and education process. Our members are actively sharing information in their communities and political forums about why a decision to proclaim a First Nations Voice to Parliament enshrined in the Australian Constitution is so crucial for the future of our nation.
Southern Women’s Action Network, June 2022
There are many ways to become better informed and show your solidarity and support.
· Sign up to The Uluru Statement from the Heart website: ulurustatement.org to learn more about the process that led to the Statement, the background to the key reforms and to receive update on how you can be part of this movement for change.
· Listen to the Lowidja O’Donohue Oration by the first female Minister for Indigenous Australians, Linda Burney. https://www.dunstan.org.au/events/lodo22/
· Listen to the 2021 Mabo Oration by Megan Davis: https://aiatsis.gov.au/presentation/summit-keynote-megan-davis
· Share this position paper with others and start a conversation with your family and friends about the reforms that are required to achieve justice for First Nations.
· Read the SWAN submission to the Indigenous Voice Co-design process on the Supporting First Nations Peoples page on the SWAN website: swanwomen.org.au
· Download this factsheet prepared by Reconciliation NSW to share with your family, friends, and co-workers: reconciliationnsw.org.au
· Sign the digital Uluru Statement from the Heart canvas: fromtheheart.com.au
· Write to your MP to show your support for the Uluru Statement and to ask them to actively request that a Referendum be held as a priority. ulurustatement.org
· Read ‘Everything you need to know about the Uluru Statement from the Heart’ (2021) by leading First Nations Constitutional experts, Megan Davis and George Williams.
 N. B. SWAN acknowledges that while a substantial majority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander Peoples unequivocally support a Constitutionally Enshrined Indigenous Voice to Parliament, not all First Nations People share the same perspective.
 The United Nations Declaration on the Right of Indigenous Peoples, Article 4. (2007). un.org
Download above Position Paper on Indigenous Voice to Parliament
25th Birthday Celebration (March 2022)
Due to Covid this was delayed from November 2021. The delicious cake was cut by Denise Hassett and Fran Rule, foundation members.
Celebrating Fantastic Women
STATEMENT FROM THE NATIONAL WOMEN'S HISTORY MUSEUM ON THE DEATH OF
JUSTICE RUTH BADER GINSBURG
Ruth Bader Ginsburg made history as only the second woman-and the first Jewish woman-to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. Yet her legacy extends far beyond this historic role alone. Ginsburg was a brilliant legal mind; a fierce advocate for pay equity, gender equality, and women's rights; and a champion of representation, justice, and democracy. Most importantly, she inspired girls and women all over the world to chase their dreams,
fight for their seats at the table, hold positions of power, and to use their voices to make the world a better place.
The loss of Justice Ginsburg is profound. As we join our nation in grief, we also celebrate the tremendous and inspiring life she led and the gifts she has left with us: a more just, equitable, and representative world. We'll continue to honor her incredible accomplishments and the many ways she's left her mark on women's history by not just telling her story, but by working to ensure that all women have their voices heard and their stories shared.
To that end, we're establishing a doctoral fellowship in Justice Ginsburg's name to support research that furthers greater understanding of women's roles in our society.
Please visit our website to learn more about Justice Ginsburg and join us in celebrating her legacy.
National Women's History Museum
Email: email@example.com Website: womenshistory.org
Museum, 205 S. Whiting Street, Suite 254, Alexandria, VA 22304
Interesting Article in the Age from Nyadol Nyuon, a recent speaker at SWAN
Yes, the South Sudanese community faces struggles, but there is hope
SWAN turns 21 ! (November 2017)
To celebrate this significant achievement we dispensed with our usual format. Instead our November 2017 meeting was a joyful celebration where foundation members and members from over the years shared stories and delicious food. It was wonderful to see so many familiar faces from the past and to catch up with each other again. There was memorabilia to jog memories of all of the wonderful speakers that we have been priviliged to listen to at SWAN. There was also shared laughter when various ex committee members enlightened us about certain organisational 'mishaps'. It was encouraging to hear how things have on the whole improved over the past 21 years. The 21st sparked new enthusiasm for SWAN to continue to inform and highlight matters regarding social justice for women. A personal highlight were the messages from members unable to attend, through these, in fact throughout the whole 21st celebration, ran a common thread of strength and fairness illustrating what is possible when women join together united in a common cause.
Here's to SWAN's next 21 years.