The Lost Petition, 2021

Content Warning: This project mentions violence against women and children. This project also contains the names of some Indigenous women and children lost to male violence. 

 

In Australia, on average, one woman a week is murdered by her current or former partner. We need to see all levels of government improve policies, education and introduce initiatives in an effort to prevent violence against women and children.

 

The list in The Lost Petition commences in the year 2008, the same year that the Great Petition by Susan Hewitt and Penelope Lee was created. It currently lists 899* women and children who have lost their lives to male violence, from 2008 until present day, however the list is growing as this project is ongoing. The Lost Petition also recognises women and children lost to violence by an unknown perpetrator.

 

These women and children can no longer vote, they have unjustly lost their right for representation and to have their voices heard by our Government. Their right to suffrage, that was fought for and won by brave women, did not protect them from male violence.

 

On behalf of these stolen lives, I request a call for action from the Federal Parliament of Australia to address the issue of violence against women and children.

 

*899 women and children lives lost to male violence from 2008 – 2021.

Please note: This work is underpinned by the research by Sherele Moody of The Red Heart Campaign and the Australian Femicide and Child Death Map.

 

The Lost Petition, International Women’s Day 2021

Burston Reserve, Melbourne

On numerous occasions, on my way into Melbourne, I would pass Great Petition in Burston Reserve. Located behind Parliament House, it referenced the ‘Women’s Suffrage Petition’ from 1891, that contains almost 30,000 signatures demanding the right for women to vote in the colony of Victoria. Great Petition by Susan Hewitt and Penelope Lee, was created in 2008 to celebrate the 100th year anniversary of the women’s right to vote in Victoria.

 

The Lost Petition was first installed on a rainy International Women’s Day, 8th March 2021, at Great Petition in Burston Reserve, Melbourne. At 30 metres long, the work runs the length of the path that intersects the sculpture.

The Lost Petition, March 4 Justice 2021

Treasury Gardens, Melbourne

 

Feedback from the The Lost Petition on International Women’s Day had been emotional and heartfelt, yet brewing underneath it all was anger. Grace Tame had been awarded Australian of the Year for 2021 and there was pressure building to see change from the federal government.

The March 4 Justice Rally was organised following the perceived lack of response by the Australian federal government to the reporting that a political staffer, 
Brittany Higgins, was allegedly raped in Australia's parliament house in Canberra, and that historical allegations of rape were made against the country's Attorney General, Christian Porter during his youth.

 

I made the decision to take The Lost Petition to the March 4 Justice rally in Melbourne. 

Photography credit Debbie Qadri and Mike Russo

Photo credit: Justin McManus, The Age

Photo credit: Justin McManus, The Age