Australia’s policies on women, peace and security come under the spotlight

Researcher Dr Nicole George is one of the organisers of a free seminar in Brisbane tomorrow focusing on Australia’s role in upholding the security of women and children from the Asia-Pacific region.

Dr George is a member of the Women, Peace and Security Academic Collective (WPSAC), and along with fellow members, Dr Sara Davies (Griffith), and Ms Sarah Teitt (Asia Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect), has organised the Brisbane event.

Other events on a similar theme have been organised by WPSAC members around the country.

The seminar – ‘Women, Peace and Security in 2013: Australia’s Role at Home and Abroad’ will explore the provisions of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 a month before Australia assumes Presidency of the council.

Dr George, from UQ’s School of Political Science and International Studies, said women living in Papua New Guinea could be exposed to violence if conflict occurred as a result of the demands refugees placed on that developing country.

“We need to remember that Papua New Guinea is already struggling to the meet the needs of its own refugee population which has come from West Papua,” Dr George said.

“While this new plan places refugees in a situation of further vulnerability, it may also have broader consequences that are damaging to Australia’s regional standing in the Pacific Islands.”

She said there were relatively small numbers of asylum seekers entering Australia by boat and that many of these supposed “illegal” immigrants were found to have valid refugee claims.

Dr George said the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 drew attention to the experiences and vulnerabilities of women in conflict.

“Australia currently holds a seat on the Security Council (2013 – 2014) and a seat on the Executive Board of UN Women,” she said.

“These dual responsibilities mean we are in a strong position to advance global policy, which protects women affected by conflict-related insecurity and violence.

“We are looking at how the broader international framework on women, peace and security can be applied to women in our region and what our government can contribute to that process.

Speakers at tomorrow’s event will include Labor Senator Claire Moore, Refugee Council of Australia Chair Sonia Caton, Mercy Family Services and the Romero Centre Multicultural Advocacy and Community Development Manager Faiza El-Higzi, and UQ School of Political Science and International Studies lecturer Dr Melissa Curley.

Dr Gerhard Hoffstaedter from UQ’s School of Social Science will chair the discussion.

The free seminar is at 6pm in the Griffith University South Bank Campus Queensland College of Art, lecture theatre (S05_2.04).

To register email: [email protected] or phone 07 37355322.

The seminar series builds on the Women, Peace and Security Academic Collective’s previous eight day Blog Campaign leading, which ran from 1-8 March this year, as Australia took its place on the Security Council.

For more details and to view the blogs visit

The Brisbane seminar is supported by The University of Queensland, Griffith University, the Asia Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, Mercy family Services and the Romero Centre.

Media: Gillian Ievers, Marketing and Communications, SBS Faculty, 07 3365 4468, [email protected].