The Hon. Jack Snelling, Minister for Employment, Training and Further Education
The Hon. Jay Weatherill, Minister for Education and Children's Services
Dear Messrs Rann, Snelling and Weatherill,
The Women's Studies Resource Centre has been in touch with women across South Australia asking for our help, as your government's funding has been withdrawn as from July 1 and that will force the closure of the Centre.
Observers like myself are aware of the stealth by which the Howard Government conducted a war of attrition against women throughout the eleven years they were in power: programs, organisations and resource centres like this one were slowly, steadily, almost unnoticeably discontinued, dismembered, disbanded, abolished, demolished and/or defunded, quietly, one by one.
It may be that it is the State Labor Government's policy to continue this demolition job done at federal level by its ideological opponents. But as a Labor-voting South Australian woman, educator and scholar who deplores the closure of any library, I would like to think not.
South Australia has a proud tradition of practical promotion and support of women's rights stretching back to their pioneering granting of the vote to women in the 1890s, only the second place in the world to do so.
This tradition was reinforced and much enhanced by the progressive social policies of Premier Don Dunstan's Labor government in the 1970s. It has always been my understanding that the current State Labor government is particularly proud of that era in its history, and regards Don Dunstan, rightly, as a hero. All of this surely suggests some respect for his beliefs and a willingness to honour his legacy.
I would draw your attention to these two elements in particular of the Resource Centre's work:
- The WSRC is a not-for-profit organisation that has contributed to the practical promotion of gender equity and the improvement in the status of women in Australian for 35 years.
- The collection is used by DECS, TAFE, ACE and university staff and students, both locally and nationally, by private schools and colleges, registered training providers, researchers and community borrowers.
I hope that the Government will see fit to re-think this funding decision.
With best wishes,