Thousands of women, children and men have marched in Sydney to protest sexual violence against women working in politics, while as many as 100,000 have attended simultaneous rallies around the country.

The March 4 Justice protest, hastily organised by Melbourne academic Janine Hendry in light of recent sexual assault allegations out of Canberra, sparked an extraordinary response from the Australian public.

Speakers and protestors at 42 towns and cities staging events across Australia called for an end to gendered violence in politics, in workplaces and to women generally in Australia. Numbers exceeded original estimates according to event organisers, and police reported the protests were boisterous but peaceful.

In Canberra Brittany Higgins, the political staffer who has alleged she was raped in the office of Defence Minister Linda Reynolds, addressed the crowd, while in Tasmania Australian of the Year Grace Tame also spoke passionately.

In Sydney Central News reporters (see end of blog for details) covered the event in words, pictures and video in a live blog and on social media.

LIVE BLOG #march4Justice


Looks like it’s a wrap. Organisers are asking people to head home. Well what a day, and what a message to the country’s leaders! It’s estimated about 10,000 people have turned out today, among them many men, although the crowd was overwhelmingly women. Furthermore, there is a real feeling in the air that this is far from the end of it. Well done everyone who attended today. The people have spoken!

Many men attended the march to voice their protest and support women. (Photo: Lauren Ivory)

Many men attended the march to voice their protest and support women. (Photo: Lauren Ivory)


Community groups from across NSW gather at today’s protest to show their support.


Meanwhile, addressing the rally outside Parliament House in Canberra, former political staffer Brittany Higgins, who has accused a colleague of raping her in the office of Defence Minister Linda Reynolds, said:
“Staying silent felt like it would make me complicit… This isn’t OK and they need to do better, we need to do better… Speak up, share your truth and know that you have a generation of women ready, willing and able to support you. Take ownership of your story and free yourself of the stigma of change. Together we can bring about real meaningful reform to the workplace culture inside Parliament House and hopefully every workplace to make sure the next generation of women can benefit from a safer more equitable Australia.”


Referring to the woman at the centre of the rape allegation against Attorney-General Christian Porter, journalist and author Jess Hill told us: “When I saw everyone rallying last week against these attempts to discredit ‘Kate’ I think what it felt like is it’s not going to be a small group of us trying to figure out how to get the big organisations to come out and debunk what’s being spread about this woman. It felt like, people have got this now. It’s not just a small group of us anymore. People are educated, they’re aware and they’re determined.”

Author and journalist Jess Hill, who spoke at the rally in Sydney. (Photo: Ella Smith)

Author and journalist Jess Hill, who spoke at the rally in Sydney. (Photo: Ella Smith)


The march officially begins after speakers of various background and from various organisation addressed the crowds, Lauren Ivory Reports.


Unity is the main theme of protestor’s chants.


Indigenous community leader Marie Barbaric tells the crowd it had taken her over 50 years to speak publicly. She was a member of the stolen generations and had been taken away from her family as a very young child. She spoke of being sold by her foster father to a man in his 70s, for the price of $20,000. “That was my worth,” she says.


Writer and performer Peta Morris, who wore a vulva costume to the march, says: “This is really about bodily autonomy and respect for women across the board. I think it’s a clear message that we have had absolutely enough of the systematic issues that are basically behind gendered violence across the world.”

One of the marchers, Peta Morris, wore a giant vulva costume to the protest. (Photo: Lauren Ivory)

One of the marchers, Peta Morris, wore a giant vulva costume to the protest. (Photo: Lauren Ivory)


Author of See What You Made Me Do, Jess Hill, says: “Who here is angry? Who here is bloody tired? And who here is determined? Who here is determined to make this moment count? Just before the A-G gave his press conference two weeks ago, I received a message warning that the media would be backgrounded on Kate’s mental health. This is a tactic called DAVO: Deny, Attack, and reverse Victim and Offender.
“This attack is intended to chill, terrify and intimidate the victim and their supporters and it often includes legal threats. It took just three days for this tactic to be deployed against Kate.
“Brittany will not be silenced. Kate will not be silenced. Victim survivors will not be silenced. Not now, not ever!”

As always, there are some great signs on display here, but unlike a lot of protests less humour, reflecting just how serious everyone here is about this issue.

Placards above the crowd at Town Hall. (Photo: Lauren Ivory)

What would Jenny say? Demonstrators make their feelings clear to the Prime Minister. (Photo: Lauren Ivory)


Michael Bradley, the lawyer who represented the woman (‘Kate’) who had accused Christian Porter of rape, tells the rally: “I’m not speaking for Kate. Kate spoke for herself. And as you can see, she has been heard. We’ve heard a lot lately about the rule of law. Well this is what the rule of law really says. The rule of law promises equality under the law. Equal access, equal protection, equal accountability. The law is a tool, it’s there to serve justice. If there is no justice, then the law has failed.”


The number of protestors continues to surge past March4Justice Facebook page’s estimated attendance of 7.7k, reports Gracie Abadee.

Video shot by Stephanie Tran.


MC Samantha Leif tells the assembling crowd: “I’m not proud of the number of column inches that are turned over to these men in power positions to express their shock. Their shock. We’re not shocked.

“Women know that this is going on. We talk about it all the time; in our homes, in our communities, in our workplaces, amongst the sisterhood, amongst our allies. We have known for too long that this mistreatment of women is not down to one bad egg, or two bad eggs. It is a systemic problem.”

There's a heavy police presence but no sign of any trouble. (Photo: Lauren Ivory)

There’s a heavy police presence but no sign of any trouble. (Photo: Lauren Ivory)


There’s already a big crowd gathered here, mostly women, with a smattering of men and quite a few high school students and a few smaller children. There are also politicians and even a few celebrities getting involved.

March 15 12:00

The Women’s March4Justice protest officially begins in Sydney as thousands continue to gather at Town Hall.

March 14
Ahead of the March4Justice, protest organiser Janine Hendry has rejected the offer by Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Senator Marisa Payne to personally meet with her and “a couple of guests of her choosing”.

As many as 5,000 women, men and children attended the first March 4 Justice rally in Perth on 14 March.

Speaking at the protest in the Western Australia capital’s CBD, former federal Labor MP Emma Husar said: “We’ve had enough of being maligned by the boys’ club, we’ve had enough of being raped by the men who think they can put their hands on us when they can’t.

“We’ve had enough of being sidelined, not being paid enough and not being represented enough in leadership roles.”

In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is 13 11 14. If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, family or domestic violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit Another helpful resource maybe Sexual Assault Counselling Australia: 1800 211 028. In an emergency, call 000.

Reporting: Gracie Abadee @GracieAbadee, Stephanie Tran @sstephanietrann, Lauren Ivory @laurenjaneivory, Ella Smith @EllaRose_Smith

Video editor: Rafqa Touma @At_Raf_

News editor: Bevin Liu @JLiuBev

Social Media Editor: Aaishah Janif @AaishahJanif